Takin' care of business.

Everyone was right.  The pain in my eye just kept getting worse and by 5:30--too late to get in to the actual eye doctor, of course--I was rushing myself to an InstaCare.  This wasn't easy.  I couldn't open my left eye, and because I've done that mono-vision thing with my contacts for several years now, my right eye is conditioned to doing only the close-up work.  Luckily, Alpine doesn't have much traffic.  
(And a break for some happy news.  Lenore and Edgar have returned.  They make their rounds from window to window now.  A couple of mornings Edgar has even come up to my bedroom, where he sits on the handle of the patio door, peeps in at me and taps on the glass.  I've given up trying to figure him out. I'm just glad they're back and will be watching to see where they put their nest.  Sorry, they're still a little too skittish for me to try any more pics.)
So, as I drove myself home from the pharmacy last night, miserable, lonely and feeling pretty sorry for myself, I got a phone call from a neighbor who has asked if they can have Gavin's car for their mother, who just returned from a mission and has no money.  I feel good about giving it to them.  A good cause and all that. But, dang. I really wasn't feeling up do doing anything more than just getting my sore face home, laying it down on the couch and feeling sorry for myself.  I told her that when I got home and found his keys, I'd call her.  Then, as I hung up, it hit me.  She intended to send her brother over, with his tow rope, to meet me as I got home. He was going to take Gavin's car.  Right then.  What was I thinking?  To orchestrate this for her meant going home and, partially blind, cleaning out my deceased son's car so that someone could take it.  Away.  Good cause, schmood cause.  I'm so sorry.  Not tonight.  I called her and bowed out.  Then I went home and had a good long cry.

So, you're wondering what's up with this picture.  Lyn saw Lincoln's upside down goggles and left a comment about kids, upside down goggles and shoes on the wrong feet.  It reminded me of my mom, who used to tell me about the little boy whose mom told him that his shoes were, once again, on the wrong feet.  He looked at her in dismay and said, "But Mommy!  These are the only feet I got!"  
And there's my lesson from yesterday.  These are the only  eyes I got.  This is the only heart I got. This is the only me I got.  Sometimes, I gotta take care of me.


I know an old lady . . .

Just had to capture this.  There's something up with my eye.  Maybe I've scratched it? I'm not sure, but it has been hurting for a few days now, so I thought I'd try an eye patch for 24 hours before giving in and going to the eye doctor.  The patch is a folded over running sock.  I tried taping it in place, but the tape won't stick very well,  so the reading glasses have been employed.  But the glasses don't quite do the trick all by themselves, so I've wrapped the waistband cut from an old pair of pants Gav and I bought at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh (true story) to help keep the glasses pressed against the running sock, and actually, this system is providing some kinda nice pressure.  (The waist band is working so well because it has elastic PLUS a draw-string which I've tied tightly.)  Oh, and my hair needs to be in a pony tail to help keep the waist band from slipping down.

I don't know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she'll die.
Wish me luck.

Like Unkie, like nephew.

This morning, I'm lovin my boys.  Just look at them.  
How could I possibly not?


It's Coming!!!

If you live anywhere near Salt Lake City, you're going to want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the StoryCorps booth with someone you love.  Whether it's their story you want to hear, or a story of your own that wants telling, the StoryCorps soundproofed recording booth is a wonderful place to do it.  The booth is private and intimate.  There are two chairs and a small table with a single lamp and a microphone.  The cozy booth is designed to create an atmosphere where you can forget the microphone and simply share your story--whatever that story might be.  Worried that you may not know how to begin?  They'll provide you with some questions you may want to consider asking.  (Here's an example:  I just found this beautiful StoryCorps story this morning. It's the recording from a father's visit to a StoryCorps booth with his daughter.)
After you've finished sharing your story, two high-quality CD's of that story will be created: One for you to keep and one to be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
The traveling booth will be in Salt Lake from March 26 through May 2, 2009.  For more information and to register, click here.


Sugar and spice and everything nice!

Steph and Kev are having a GIRL!!!!
Congratulations you two!
First granddaughter!  Woot!  Woot!!

Humans. I just love 'em.

They've done it again. A group of humans have gotten together to create beauty and fun, just for the Joy of it. Such a cool species we are. So like our Dad.

Oh, and kudos to those amazing dogs, as well.


Happy Birthday Shelly!!!

She loves like an angel and gives like a Saint,
And serves with her whole heart, no matter how faint.
Her hugs are pure heaven, her smile like warm sun,
And her praise is like fresh rain--you just glow when she's done.
She raised four golden children, each gifted as she
Who're now adding branches to her great family tree.
And my lucky daughter became part of that clan
When she wed Shelly's Richie (a good Norton man).
Imagine my fortune, the joy of my joys . . .
'Cuz my wonderful grandsons get to be Shelly's boys!

Happy Birthday Sweet Shelly!
You are truly one of the GREAT blessings of my life.

I love you,


Raising boys . . .

Dear Coleman,
I hate to say it, but 
this probably won't be your last visit to 
the Emergency Room. . . 
. . . or the last time you'll have to sit around in one for 
six or seven hours 
for someone to finally get around 
to stitching you up, 
or setting your arm, 
or your foot, 
or whatever else you'll probably break 
zooming around the planet 
being a little boy.
 Or a big boy, for that matter.
(Seems it pretty much comes with the territory.)  
Pop and I are very glad you're ok, though.
Tell Mommy and Daddy to do their best to relax:
I've been prayin' up the very finest Guardian Angels to 
stay close 
and make sure that all those visits remain minor ones.
But do remind Mom and Dad to keep that insurance paid up.
Boys seem to need lots of that.
I love you,

p.s. You're gonna think that little scar on your head is very cool.

My nomination for the next Nobel

The inventor of this site deserves the creative equivalent of the Nobel Prize.  Ah heck, let's just give her/him the Nobel.  Right now.  As for the rest of you, you need to click here, right now.  Oh, and be sure to click on Fresh Sheet and Manic Model before you leave.   OK, I'm done bossing everyone around.  
For now.

Twitter, I love you.

This is how I get my news.  At least the only news I really care about.  I'm not complaining.  When your daughter has to leave her phone turned off because she has three busy little boys, a busy photography business and an even busier husband, you learn to be very, very grateful for Twitter.  And I am.  Very, very grateful.  My mom never got half the news I do.  And for sure, only one-tenth the laughs.


A good thought

It's telling to think how many will be watching the Market tonight 
when they could be watching the sunset.
C'mon everybody, lighten up.  We're going to be fine.
Really, we are.  And more importantly, we are fine, right now.

Forget Me Not

Gav and I used to hike up to Horsetail Falls at least once every year.  The last time we went it was very early Spring.  I remember this because as we hiked down, the wind started to pick up and clouds gathered quickly, and by the time we were past the trailhead and back onto pavement, we were screaming and whooping into a wild and icy March wind, trying to shield our faces as we raced through the pelting sleet. In this exact moment, I remember how alive I felt.  How happy I was laughing and screaming through the wind with my boy.  (It's odd, when I gaze back into memories like this, how I feel to reach in and warn that blithely happy woman of the darkness that's ahead. Warn?  I don't know.  Maybe comfort is the better word?  I feel so tender toward her, so sorry for her, there in all her innocent bright hopefulness about what she imagines the future to hold.)
Those earliest hikes, the one's when you're pushing your luck against the probability of one of winter's final assaults before she finally relinquishes her reign to spring, are always iffy. But they're also the hikes that can yield the sweetest surprises.  Finding early flowers, the tender ones that always die young, is the reward for a hiker's willingness to risk a late snow or sleet storm.  This hike had given us that.  Along either side of the trail, hidden back in the underbrush where remnants of snow wept into boggy soil, we found scattered Forget Me Nots, their tiny blue faces shining up from the early green grasses.  We were both smitten and kept stopping each other to show off the next batch we'd discovered. (I loved how Gavin could get as carried away by nature as I do.)  We turned a corner and came upon the trickle of a tiny spring, bleeding it's way across the trail.  We followed it's path off to the left and down into a shallow little glen, no more than five feet wide, maybe ten or eleven feet long--and were suddenly frozen in awe. The glen was blanketed with Forget Me Nots. It was as if a soft blue mist had gathered there in that hollow and lay resting at our feet.  Time slowed and we stood silent in the beauty of that pristine moment, nothing more than awe passing between us.  
Another turn of seasons, and Spring begins to raise her sleepy head.  I imagine there are Forget Me Nots out there in that glen again this year.  I don't know that I want to hike out to see.  I don't know if I want to stand in that moment again without Gavin. But it is good to imagine them there.  And it's good to know that they'll come again every spring as the snow disappears into the dark loamy mountain soil.  

Photo credit: flikr.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!
And here's a wee bit 'o magic from the land of Eire.


Was it something I said?

I have sad news.  Edgar and Lenore have stopped tapping at my window pane.  It's been five days since I last saw them. I'm afraid that my camera may have made them nervous.  Or maybe they were just mad that they couldn't get inside? I'll bet they ran into Curtis, and he gave them a good dose of reality . . . "I tried gettin' in there for 5 years you two, and believe you me, ain't never gonna happen."  Curtis was prone to exaggeration.  And a whiner.
Oh well.

Eat an orange.

Eat an orange. Just 1 serving of citrus fruit a day can help cut your risk of developing esophageal cancer by up to 62%. If you have acid reflux, or suffer from frequent heartburn, citrus is your new best friend

Here's a hint for sleepy time: 
A study conducted by the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia found that sleeping on your left side is the best way to avoid nighttime heartburn. Sleeping on your right side may increase your heartburn symptoms because the acid takes longer to clear out of your esophagus when you lay on your right side. While sleeping on your back can allow acid to slip back into your esophagus more often.


Little Feet

Natalie was born back in the days before ultra sounds and knowing the sex of your baby before it was born. One day we ask Stephanie what kind of baby she was hoping for.  She thought a minute and then answered, "One with little feet."  
I was happy to accommodate.

This beautiful photo comes from:  Flickr, CK Metro


A good thought

"Sometimes you have to look real hard at a person 
and remind yourself
 that they're doing the best that they can.  
They're just trying to find their way, that's all.  Just like you."
-From On Golden Pond


Once again, Genius at Luanne's and the Norton's.

Yes, Luanne, Matt and Shelly, this is a Forest of Neurons. The image shows just a minute fraction of the cells and connections within the microcircuitry of the neocortex of the brain.
Looks a little familiar, doesn't it?

This last shot is a model created by scientists at Harvard and MIT depicting a complete neural circuit.  A close, close, close-up of a single tip of one of those infintesimally tiny nano branches from the top photo.  Kinda takes your breath away, doesn't it?

All things denote there is a God, yea even the earth and all things that are upon the face of it . . . Alma 30:44


Newborn Weigh-In, India

I found this photo, taken by National Geographic photographer, Lynn Johnson, on my son-in-law's blog. Not only does Kevin have excellent taste in wife selection, he is also the kind of unique and wonderful man who would find such an exquisite photo and want to share it. Isn't it beautiful?  At first I thought it was a painting, it's so perfect. I love the colors, the composition, the lighting, the tenderness the scene evokes. I was especially touched by the mother's hands. Look how they're poised protectively between her baby and the ground. I love that Kevin's heart resonated with this shot. Isn't Steph lucky to have such a man in her world?

A Day of Faith-Harvard University

This video is taken from a compilation of videos posted at Vimeo, all shot during a day of of 'inquiry into religions' at Harvard University late last year.  The event was titled, A Day of Faith.  The moderator, a newswoman and self-proclaimed Atheist, asks each of five Harvard students: a Mormon, a Muslim, a Protestant, a Jew and a Buddhist, about their faiths.  It is fascinating and inspiring to watch. What beautiful messages! When you've got some time, I'd encourage you to go to Vimeo and watch each of the segments--and then share them with those you love.   Click here for the full program.

Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose - 3. Rachel Esplin from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.

What in the world?

Any guesses?

Happy Birthday Heather!!

Little did I know that when Natalie married Richie,
I would be blessed with so many wonderful people to love.
Heather, you little angel you,
I'm so happy that you're part of my life!

I love you!!
Happy, happy birthday!


Cold Case, II

So, this morning Lenore has moved right up to the window.  It may be that she's getting a little more brave, but I'm thinking it's just that it was very cold this morning and she was trying to tuck up against the house to stay out of the wind.  I know, I know. This is a really bad video.  When I first started shooting, I thought I was taking a still picture.  There's the bold truth about my photographic abilities.  Natalie I'm not.  In fact, I'm thinking we're pretty lucky we've even got this.

A cup of Humili-tea.

Don't you just love clever people?  These look like they're made with mini stencils--and I imagine that you'd just lay the stencil over your foam topped coffee or hot chocolate cup, then sprinkle over it with cocoa or cinnamon.  This is one of the billion times I miss Gav.  He'd be able to whip one of these little guys out for me in 10-15 minutes.  I'd love one that just said, "I love you."  Wouldn't it be fun to serve someone a warm cup of "I love you"?

I'm sure not going to be needing the "I'm pregnant" one, but wouldn't that be a fun way to make your announcement? (Oh. I just remembered. Last night I dreamed that I was pregnant. How random is that?) I'm so sorry that I don't know anything about the product or these photos. But I found the pics over at Amorology. You can drop over there and ask Heather about them.


Cold Case

Meet Edgar.  He stands about 4 inches tall.  I think he's a Common House Finch.  For the past week, this little guy has been tap, tap, tapping at our family room window sill.  Two, three times a day he appears, and while his wife waits timidly in the oak branches a safe distance behind him, he perches on the transom sill and peers into the window, as if he wishes he could come inside and . . . what?  Build a nest?  Snack on the popcorn and Cheez-It crumbs on the floor around Greg's recliner?  I have no clue.  Now, before you start guessing you need to know: this mystery goes far deeper than popcorn and Cheez-It crumbs.  Here's a strange clue for you: This is not the first bird that has come knocking at my window.  The first year we lived here a chubby, round robin started knocking--but Sherlock, NOT at the same window. Interestingly, he sat at a lower window, just next to and below Edgar's transom window--and, you should also know . . . slightly around the corner.  Stop laughing. The varied location of the knocking is relevant here. Think about it, different height, different angle, and the light or reflection would be also different, now wouldn't it? (Yes, Watson. Elementary.)  

I named this first bird Curtis (not relevant, but it'll help you keep it all straight in your mind), and Curtis too, came several times a day throughout the spring.  There's more: Curtis came back every year for about three years. See, I told you. This is a pretty thick plot.  Every clue counts.  Now, since Curtis started coming the first year we'd built our little house here in the trees, we wondered if maybe he had been born somewhere in the trees surrounding the house and now wanted to have access to his old stomping grounds.  Curtis REALLY wanted in.  He fairly drove us crazy tapping at the pane.  He could really make a ruckus, I'm tellin you. 

But then one Spring, Curtis didn't come.  It was a little sad.  We missed him.  We consoled ourselves by considering that Crazy Curtis had probably simply reached the end his robin life span and he was now happily tapping at some heavenly window somewhere else.  And so we finally let go of trying to figure out the method behind Curtis' madness.  

But now here we are, five springs after Curtis' departure, and two new birds, Edgar and Lenore--who, I remind you, are not even robins--show up.  What the?  
I'll keep you posted as the story unfolds.


If I lived in Hawaii

If I lived in Hawaii, I would take my three little grandsons to Sea Life Park there on O'ahu to see this baby sea turtle.  Afterward, we'd drive home through the pineapple plantations to North Shore and stop to get a shave ice at Matsimoto's.  Then we'd drive through funky little beach towns and around Waimea Bay to Sunset Beach where we would play pirates and have driftwood sword fights until the sun went down.  That evening, after I'd given them warm bubble baths and we'd read There's a Wocket in my Pocket, we would snuggle on the couch watching Wall E  until we all drifted off to sleep.  I would love to live in Hawaii.

You have four eyes.

Natalie's version was, "Mom, I NEED go to the hosh-pital!  
TAKE ME to the HOSH-SHPIT-AL ! ! !"

My thanks to the delightfully lovely 
and cosmically creative Erin Jane 
for posting this gem.  I'm still laughing.


What would you choose?

Yesterday, on Twitter, Natalie posted the following:

Educate me tweet peeps, what's the single greatest song ever written?
3:35 PM Mar 4th from web

And since I had laundry, vacuuming and bills I was eager to avoid, I spend the next hour trying to imagine how I would answer her question. It wasn't easy. How could I choose between Handel's Messiah and the entire Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Album? In fact, if I were to limit myself solely to Lennon & McCartney compositions alone, how in the world could I come up with just one to label Best?? (Think the entire Rubber Soul album, or The White Album, or Revolver. Can't be done, can it?) Next I moved on to Paul Simon. Oh man, just the man's poetry, even without his stunning music, was almost too beautiful for me to bear all in a single afternoon. In light of my life recently, this lyric of Paul's came to mind:

Don't know a soul who's not been battered,
Don't have a friend who feels at ease.
Don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to it's knees.
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right--
Just weary to my bones.
Still, you don't expect to be bright and bon vivant
So far away from Home . . . so far away from Home.

And that, my friends is merely the first of his lyrics that came to mind. He's written hundreds of them, many even more beautiful than this. Now, think about the sweeping beauty in Hoagie Carmichael's Stardust, or the tender way Jimmy Durante sang Make Someone Happy. Or Iz singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. See what I mean? Where would you even begin?
I finally came to the conclusion that Natalie's question just couldn't be answered. At least not in any way that she was expecting. So this morning I sent her the following:
Single greatest song: Your newborn's first cry.
Sorry. All the rest are purely subjective.

Though I still remember it's magic, that is one song I haven't heard in about 23 years. So for now, I'll have to let this fine little number from Paul Simon and his Graceland album tide me over.

Do you have some favorites?

A good thought

Any behavior between human beings that is less than
honest, open, clear and caring
has it's roots in fear.


8-year-old Angel


Why Steve? WHY?

I am really doing my best to forgive Apple and Steve Jobs for giving their iPhone contract to AT&T, but let me tell you, it's hard.  Steve, I  l-o-v-e  my iPhone, but honestly, the fact I am now forced to be an AT&T hostage is taking all the joy out of it.  My calls echo and drop and echo and drop and drop and drop.  Often, they won't even connect.  AT&T, you are the Evil Empire of phone services, and I hate you.  Just in case you missed my drift here, let me be clear:


Years ago, when I had my first cell phone, I innocently stumbled into AT&T service and my fury began.  Their billing department was a joke.  My bills were always wrong.  Every month, without fail.  My calls echoed.  My calls dropped.  Usually they echoed, then dropped.  But I was trapped.  So I took deep breaths, waited out my hostage crisis, and at the exact moment my contract expired,  tore over to a refreshing land called Verizon, with a solemn vow never to return to the Evil Empire. 
Now, here's the honest truth: Never, ever, not even once during the years I was with Verizon did I EVER drop a call. My connections were always clear and crisp and get this:  actually stayed connected.  My bills were accurate.  Their customer service was friendly, fair and responsive.  My phone life was sweet and serene.  
Then came the iPhone.  Greg adored his and begged me to let him buy me one.  "No!"  I screamed.  "I don't care how amazing that phone is.  I will never, ever, ever be an AT&T customer again.  Ever.  Not as long as I live.  Never."  He tempted me with it's glorious features.  They are glorious.  I wouldn't budge.  Finally, for our anniversary, he surprised me with a beautiful sleek white 3G.  He laid it before me as if it were diamonds.  It really was exquisite, and the experience there in the Apple store was truly rhapsodic.  I caved.  
I have learned to adore my iPhone's features.  I love every one of the many cool things my little droid does for me . . . except for one cruel problem: once again, I'm being forced to endure AT&T.  I'm hostage to the Evil Empire.  And it is just as painful as ever.  Why Steve?  Why?