Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Home to Holly Springs...

The characters in Jan Karon's books are so three dimensional that you expect to meet one of them at the market on Saturday. I love them all...

Karon's books are truly about the Christian principles of grace, love and redemption and about perfecting the ability to forgive. But, if there is a dark theme in her books that theme is from Exodus 34:7 where it says, "visiting the iniquity of the fathers up on the children... unto the third and to the fourth generations."

Father Tim spends an inner lifetime trying to understand his father, wondering why he never received or could earn his love, praying for his father and looking for grace to have touched his life. What he finds is a terrible incident that left an emotional scar in his father's life that did not heal and tormented his grandparents, mother and self even beyond his father's passing. While he doesn't understand, he tries to empathize and to forgive and to find peace.
The book is a gem.. but, I always listen to these books on tape and there was a new reader .. and I missed the deep, resonant voice of John McDonough who sounds just like Father Tim.. to me.

Snow Flower & The Secret Fan...

Snow Flower & The Secret Fan is a book about the exquisite pain, maneuvering for power and the friendships that are created in the upper room behind the lattice window of a Chinese home in the 1820's...
Lily narrates this book about her early life from the time that she walked a long the river bank with her older brother and the cool river water ran over her feet... to the time when she meets her laotong and signs the contract of friendship that will last her entire life... to the time when she and her laotong have their feet bound and broken to become golden lilies... to the time when she makes grave errors in her fidelity and empathy with her friend... to the time when she makes great efforts to forgive and redeem herself from her mistakes.

The book shows how easily we can dismiss the suffering of another and even how hard it is too see and to empathize from a place of relative comfort. It is about the emotional violence that those who truly love each other still commit against those the beloved without feeling or seeing the hurt that is caused.

Beautiful prose that tells a story of great suffering from a place of dignity rather than pity. Snow Flower would approve.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Little c's New Room.. The Details...

Little c chose the wall color and it goes on record as being the brightest of any wall we've ever painted! But, we think she has great taste and we love it! .. even if it makes the hallway glow like a nuclear reactor in the afternoon sun!
We found the little chair at Four Sisters Furniture in Ogden.. They have some fun unfinished pieces and then you can paint them whatever color you like. We chose Caribbean!
The photograph is one I took of our roses just after a rain storm. Hi Big Fat Pig! (Do you see him in the corner.. happily we haven't sent all of the fun childhood friends away.) Uncle S named the pig so don't blame little c.
Dear little c. I hope that you love your new room. I hope these bright happy colors will make it so that you can never be sad here and that being home in your own little space will make you feel always safe and loved.. We love you very much! Love, Mom

Writing Desk...

I love this classic little white writing desk from Crate and Barrel and am considering it for little c's room.

Pillows for the new room...

Thursday, Friday & Saturday little c, cousin j and I spent making pillows for the new room.
I was particularly interested in making a heart pillow with buttons.. I saw something like this somewhere a long time ago... I'm not a seamstress so it took awhile and it didn't turn out quite how I'd imagined. Next time make the pattern a third again a large as I would like it to turn out in the end... it's a bit small. And, while I worked and worked on the shape.. I never got one I really loved.
But, we had a great time. Little c made a pillow for her room and j made one for hers.
If you are wondering what the image is on one of the pillow (with the hair bow...) It's Mints the dog... She's the auxiliary back up dog to Pancake's main alpha dog status around here. :)
We had a fun time and added more color, which is always good.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mrs. Miniver...

This is certainly a white washed version of what the English suffered during the first years of the war. It was made as a propaganda film that was meant to inspire American support and end the isolationist policy and feeling that had been prevalent since the end of World War 1.
"The film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director."

It's a bit fluffy and melodramatic, but a fascinating to observe piece of pop culture and a must see for that reason alone.

Get some pop corn though. It's so long you could starve by the end.


I once heard Peter O'Toole say in an interview something like... "I act for free, they pay me the big bucks to wait." He may not be a patient man, but he is a great actor!
This film is stunning and it was good to see it again. You are simply mesmerized by the characters that Burton and O'Toole create here.
The script is fascinating as well, but it's watching these two masters at their craft perform that is simply spellbinding.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Surprise Crumbs...

A box came in the mail and since I'm already at that stage where I can't remember what I did yesterday, I often get quite excited about a box delivered by mail.. Did I order something wonderful and now it's arrived?
Yesterday, was better. Surprise cupcakes arrived in the mail from New York City from my brother S who is a summer intern at a fancy schmancy law firm there.
Little c and I were giddy with happiness and jumping for joy! Surprise cupcakes have to be ranked up there with one of the best surprises ever... Hooray!!!
Thank you S. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rain in June...

A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.
Emily Dickinson
Do you see this hail? It's happened twice this June. Amazing to watch. June is normally one of the driest months in Utah. But, this year it has rained almost every day it seems like, but look at this rose and this green grass.. everything is so clean. Happily, little c has an exciting series to read and so it's been beautiful and lots of fun.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Crab Cooker.. Newport Beach

I was looking this place up a few weeks ago and hoping that after about 27 years, it would still be there. It was. I was so excited. This is a place that we would come to on our yearly vacations to Newport when I and my brothers and sisters were children ourselves. The cups of the best ever Manhattan Clam Chowder are still only $2.50 so I can't imagine what they cost all that time ago, but it must have been a good place to feed a lot of kids and I remember that we once had 16 children in our group so that would be a lot of kids.
It was our favorite place and we begged to go here. They have these sour dough bread balls the size of a larger marble and you are to drop them, sink them, submarine them in your chowder which we did with great enthusiasm.
I was worried about going back after all this time. Would it be a dump? Would the food be awful? Would little c think I was dumb for liking the place so much. Well, it was a little smaller than I remember, but it was charming and wonderful and better than I remembered... and little c loved it. It was so wonderful to share a favorite childhood memory with her and have her enjoy it too.
Visit HERE.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society..

Even in Guernsey, there are some bad guys... people who inform on their neighbors for flour, stockings and cigarette cases. There are the opportunists and the by-the-rules .. clipboard loving Christians with no charity and other trouble makers. But, for the most part there are neighbors, who though an odd collection of folks .. get a long and help and love and respect each other quirks and all.
This is a book with a soul and it is beautiful. This is a book which helps us visualize all the reasons great art is more like food and oxygen than we realize.. We must have it to live.
Some of the characters read only a few pages of something great, but as they read just a line or two, they found another universe, or words that broke open their hearts, or words that described the darkness they were encountering under the occupation, but they were changed and enlightened and comforted by art and better able to comfort and understand each other. Books make good friends.
The author Mary Ann Shaffer for whom this book is a great and lovely swan song wrote, "If nothing else, I hope these characters and their story shed some light on the sufferings and strength of the people of the Channel Islands during the German Occupation. I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art-- be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music -- enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised."

All through this book, I was reminded of this beautiful and interesting and amazing poem by William Blake that begs the question we all want to know? Isn't it something?

William Blake- The Tyger
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Don't miss out on this book.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On being a little black rain cloud & the lack of civility...

I try to keep this space a happy place for people to visit and I need to do that better in my personal relationships with people.. I think that I can be a little black raincloud sometimes (and even a big one like this that passed over my house a few minutes ago). C has the same problem, in fact he has often said that B negative is his blood type AND his motto. This is not good.
We need to be happy and act happy and we are working at it! We need to be like my hero Gordon B. Hinckley and try to find ways to discuss serious subjects in positive ways. I realize that even he couldn't do that all the time, but he was amazing and almost always had a positive attitude.
In addition, I think that we need to have the courage to encourage others to act in more positive ways. I ran into a bully at the market the other day. He (a sixty something well dressed, large man) treated a woman I admire rather badly. Sadly, I did not have the courage to tell him not to pick on my favorite grocery clerk. I tried to apologize to her for his rude behavior, but that is not the same thing. (I seriously don't think you can get into heaven if you treat grocery clerks and waitresses rudely!) We have allowed our society to have a greater and greater lack of civility and I have tired of it.
When I came home from the market, I explained to C what had happened and why it had upset me. He said that it is difficult in a stressful moment to know what to say and so I should consider memorizing something for such an occasion. He said to say this, "Sir, you are disgracing yourself and making others uncomfortable. Please excuse yourself until you can behave like a gentleman."
So, that is what I am going to say next time. (Brilliant C should have his own blog, but since he doesn't I'm free to steal all his good ideas and post them here. :)
You know, they talk a lot about behavior and bullying at little c's school, but how are children going to learn how to behave in a kind & gracious ways if their parents and grandparents act like bores (a tiresome person) & tyrants (one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power) at home and in public.
Our new motto is B Nice.. or sit out in a flower patch and think happy thoughts until you can!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The view in Newport...

Makes one want to be a California girl.. just a little though...

Confessions of a Shopaholic...

I have to confess that I read these books.. most of them anyway although they are not my usual fair.. they are fine beach reads.. However, the film is a millions times better than the books. I adored it. It was in color and bettered my imagination by leaps and bounds. Whoever, the stylists for this film are.. they are grand and amazing at what they do.. the art direction.. the makeup.. every detail is just fun to see.
And, as you know I love rainbow bright colors of a kind which this film contains in great and glorious abundance.. it just makes me giddy with happiness to look at all these colors!
And truthfully, I wish that I was younger, thinner and didn't care for comfort and mobility as much as I do, because if I could somehow overcome the aforementioned.. I would dress like the girl in the green scarf everyday... Beautiful! Wonderful! Amazing and Happy!
I am not a shopaholic, but I am buying this film as soon as it comes out.. I'm not even waiting for it to go on sale.

Monday, June 15, 2009


This thing here is the best pedicure I've ever had. According to my sister-in-law B.. "it gives you the pedicure you wish you could get at the salon, but they are too afraid to give you." ... of course that is discounting the time when they weren't afraid! Jenni and I went for pedicures at The Little America in SLC and they brought out the heavy equipment meaning dremel sanders ... yep, they actually said Black & Decker on the side. It hurt. And, Jenni and I were giving each other some interesting looks the whole time. You know I use a dremel sander every week to shape the lids and sand the inside of the little boxes I paint.. I don't want someone to use that thing on my feet again.. but I digress.
These Ped Egg things are fabulous and they cost about $10 and last a good long time. so far I've cut my pedicure cost down from $40 per month to about 50 cents per month and in a recession.. that is some real savings!

Hannah Anderson Sale...

Such darling little dresses this time.. HERE.

Little c at Disney Land...

... red cast and all.. She had fun anyway. :)

Baby l at the beach in Newport...

The ocean is mesmerizing...

Walk, Don't Run...

This is a remake of one of my favorite films The More The Merrier with the amazing Jean Arthur... Sometime I like remakes and sometimes I just wish they had let the old film stand. This film however, is delightful, it's predictable as it doesn't much diverge from the original, but the actors, especially Cary Grant are really fun to watch and like the original the costumes and set are really beautifully done and fun to see. This one is set in Japan during the 1964 Olympics. It's fun to see how much of the fashion and interiors are influencing what we like today.
See it.. it's darling.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Exotic Chicken Salad Recipe...

Every Mormon woman has a recipe for chicken salad because we almost don't meet together with out eating it.. it's really more of a thing than green jello with carrot shreds (yes, I do like that stuff!) Anyway, I think Mormon ladies eat more chicken salad than green jello. So, you have to have a recipe and while I kind of throw stuff in.. this is my version to the best of my knowledge. Apologies to those who are going to be eating it today... I forgot some things at the store so it's a bit short.. you know how that goes?

Chicken Salad...
4 chicken breasts cooked at 350 for about 35 mins. cooled and shredded
2 large celery stalks diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts .. and then more finely chopped, but not too much.. just right
2 cans mandarin oranges drained
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups apx. of green or red grapes washed and quartered
3 stalks of green onion.. unless it's extra potent.. then you decide
1 1/2 cups of toasted cashews (added just before serving)

Mix all that stuff together.. except for the cashews..

1 cup (and maybe a little) mayo .. I like the olive oil based variety
1/2 and maybe a little bit more curry powder
1 Tbl. soy sauce
the juice of 1/2 lime
Mix up dressing.. add to above.. chill.. add nuts just before serving.

This isn't really super healthy I don't think with the mayo and the cashews .. it's more party food so that's why it's in the treats section.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sugar Elf's Sweet Creations...

I love this Strawberry Milk Cow! Visit Sugar Elf's other Sweet Creations HERE...

More of Roger's Gardens...

Dahlia's the size of dinner plates... about 10 inches across.

Beautiful.. I hope I make it back here someday.

Friday, June 12, 2009


We like to roast pecans, peanuts and almonds around here. They make a healthful treat if they are not covered in oil and salt. These blanched peanuts cost 9.25 for 3 lbs. from Western Nut where they are very fresh. Grocery products are often old and have an acrid taste to them. I roast these at about 410 degrees for apx. 12 minutes. Spread them on a large cookie sheet in a single layer. One 3 lb. bag is 2 batches. You have to watch them though, your oven will be different from mine and they go from perfect to burnt in no time. I store them in Hefty ziplock bags in the freezer where they stay very fresh fro a very long time.. although I haven't had any left over long enough to go bad. They thaw quickly to make desserts or just to snack on. They are an excellent source of protein and fat for your food storage.

Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar...

If you happen to be in Corona del Mar sometime.. look this place up.. it's simply stunning everywhere you look. More photos coming.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I hate to leave my garden in June...

I would love to see Paris in April and I will travel with you to London in July. I will visit Zions National Park in February... but in June I must be home... because there is no Grand Canyon, no Tokyo, no ocean that bests (to me) the majesty of my own June Roses in my own little garden patch...
The Peace Rose, The Chicago Peace Rose, The Abraham Lincoln Rose

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anatomy of a Murder...

Edgy and interesting. Great script and acting. Just when you long for a simpler time, think again as you watch how the issue of rape is treated by society in this film. The film makes some interesting statements while not completely siding with the victim. Who's truly guilty and of what?? A very interesting look at 1950.. this is NOT a Doris Day film and is still current in that it makes you think. The cinematography and art direction are quite amazing... watch carefully the opening scene as the lights come on room by room in black and white.. amazing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Baby l's party decorations...

The party turned out pretty well considering the dark and ominous rain clouds that blew in about an hour before the party was to begin. I was praying hard that just the wind would leave. When it did, there were beautiful sun showers and I was there just by myself setting up.. the park was so beautiful. It was fun to begin the party with just the little birds, the beautiful sun showers and myself. Thanks to my dear mother and sisters for tons of help and to my good friends (since I was 5) Circe and Michelle for their help and just for being generally wonderful. Love you guys.