Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Professor and the Madman...

I wish so much that medicine understood more about the crippling, devastating condition of schizophrenia. Some people live too long and Dr. Minor has to be one of those people who suffered severe mental torture almost every night of his long life feeling that he would be forced to do something awful by the demons who raged in his mind after dark.
During his better hours, he did what he could to assist in one of the greatest, if not the greatest literary efforts.. the cataloging of the English Language.
The is a terribly sad and tragic, but amazing story.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salt Lake City Magazine... Best of the Beehive!

If you purchase just one magazine this year.. this is my favorite. It's so much fun to go through and see all the the great talent we have in our fabulous state!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grateful for Pioneers...

Many of the Mormon Pioneers converted to the church in Europe. They joined the body of the saints in New York, in Missouri, in Nauvoo. In each place they built a beautiful community, in each place they were misunderstood, hated and finally persecuted and brutally driven out.
Leaving their beautiful and tidy little homes, they crossed the great plains in covered wagons if they had means and handcarts if they did not. They took each step with great courage and faith in their convictions. They suffered greatly a long the way. They buried their husbands, brothers, sisters, wives and mothers. They left their children in frozen, shallow graves as they listened to the wolves howl in the distance. But with faith in the goodness of their God and in his eternal plan of happiness and reunion.. they came into the Salt Lake Valley and built the glorious Salt Lake Temple in order to worship, a place where they could be sealed forever to those precious ones who were left behind.
I am forever grateful for my connections to these valiant saints and for the city they built with courage, industry and faith ... all in reverence and honor to God.
Hope you had a wonderful Pioneer Day.. July 24, 2009 marked 162nd anniversary of the day the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley.

Images from the Eighth International Art Competition...

This painting of a warrior mother was a favorite.


This "Orion" quilt was simply brilliant and amazing... You have to see it in person.
I always look for the beautiful paintings of Larry Winborg, a very gifted artist from Farmington.

These are some paintings depicting the sacrifices of the Utah Pioneers that I thought were lovely.
The International Art Competition is on display and The Conference Center until sometime in October. Don't miss.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Spring Garden has grown up...

This was the garden in the spring, early in June actually. It doesn't look like this anymore. The summer is passing quickly and I still have so many plans and things I want to do with my children before the summer is over... I wish time would slow down a bit so that I can catch up.
There are also a thousand projects in the house that need doing, but I'm trying to put most of those off. I can do those when little c isn't here to play. :(
Here's to making the most of the next 4 weeks until school starts again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Elephant...

He'd look a lot cuter with a big red wooden bead at that end of the string and I thought about it, but you have to know baby l.. no matter how tight I get the thing on.. she'd get it off and try to eat it so.. until that stage is past.. no bead.
If you want to make a pull toy... it's easy with the help of

Silas Marner...


I loved this production of Silas Marner. It's so sweet. I could relate to the part where Silas sees all his gold in golden hair of his beautiful child. I've often thought that myself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Do Not Apologize...

One of my heroes, my great Uncle Charles flew a glider into Ste.-Mere-Eglise on June 6, 1944. The landing was assaulted with German machine gun fire. He lost most of the men he flew in with. He was captured, tortured and starved by the Nazi's. In the events of history, D-Day doesn't seem that long ago.
I have visited the Utah Beach in Normandy, France where Americans are buried almost as far as the eye can see.
I am tiring of an administration that seems so anxious to apologize for America. While this country has its faults, there is no more generous people in the world, and the thing they have been most generous with is blood.
The following has been finding its way around ... if you haven't read it, you might want to.

At a time when our president and other politicians appear to want to apologize for everything about the United States, here’s a refresher course on how some have handled negative comments about the United States . . .

JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when Charles De Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO. De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded “does that include those who are buried here?”De Gaulle did not respond.

When in England at a conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush. He answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?”A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, ‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.”

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.“You have been to France before, monsieur?” The customs officer asked sarcastically.Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”“Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France”The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, “Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale...

The Thirteenth Tale is a brilliant bit of writing. And, I can't say too much about it because it has so many twists and turns and I don't want to give any of the mystery away.
However, it is the story of two writers born into tragedy who both find a way to cope, to escape, to understand and to explain their experience by devouring books.
While this book is certainly a love letter to literature, don't think you'll be bored, it's a real can't-put-it-down-page-turner. You'll be riveted.
It has very dark themes without being graphic. But, it's honest. It shows the suffering caused by selfishness, by sin and by neglect. It shows how that suffering can leap the generations.
But, it also shows something very true. If a person is lacking a good example, they can find one in a book. The character in this book, used the moral grit and compassion of Jane Eyre to inspire her life... to help her to forgive, to love and to serve the one person who had destroyed her life completely... and by this compassion to change the history of her family. Beautiful.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two-Part Invention...

Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle is a favorite book of mine. It is just part of the story of her life.. her love story. She tells about her single life in Manhattan in the 1940's until the time that she met and married her sweetheart and she tells snippets of her marriage with him for over forty years until he dies from cancer. Her view of marriage and her faith are beautiful. Her words hold life, even the bad stuff, as sacred and it is inspiring.
I picked it up yesterday and ended up reading it cover to cover. I read it when I was first married and to read it again different things stand out. I could relate so much to this passage on page 156:
"As soon as Bion, our baby, was in nursery school, I dropped out of the group of mothers who occasionally gathered together to drink coffee and gossip. This was writing time. Nobody else needed writing time. And I felt that I was looked at askance because I spent so much time at the typewriter and yet couldn't sell what I wrote. I certainly wasn't pulling my weight financially.
In my journal I wrote: 'There is a gap in understanding between me and our friends and acquaintances. I can't quite understand a life without books and study and music and pictures and a driving passion. And they, on the other hand, can't understand why I have to write, why I am a writer. When for instance, I say to someone that have to get home to work, the assumption is that I mean housecleaning or ironing, not writing a book. I'm very kindly permitted to be a writer but not to take time pursuing my trade. Nor can they understand the importance of music or why an hour with a Mozart sonata at the piano is not wasted time but time spent on real value. Or really listening, without talking, to music. Or going for a walk simply to see the beauty around one, or the real importance of a view from a window.'"
I have quite a few friends who understand the importance of books and of the need for constant learning, but not enough. When conversation comes around to the latest pop-cultural news sensation, I find that people are speaking Greek to me and I simply don't care. Fewer of my friends understand my desire to paint for hours at a time (I'm grateful for those that really do)and the solitude that requires. When I say that I must paint, most people assume it's a wall. Maybe someday my art will be profitable, maybe it won't, but I feel compelled to paint all the same. It's not something I can turn off.
I will paint and I will read. I have a great desire to know history and to read the finest literature. I want to make great music a part of my life every day. I aspire to be a culteral snob.. never to settle for the slop purveyed to the masses as art everyday, but to search for what is fine.. what is best.
I love these verses of Mormon scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80 which read:
"Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms--
That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called, you and the mission with which I have commissioned you."
In order for us to be who we were meant to be.. wise and smart and capable of good judgment and good reason.. even after achieving great formal education, there is still so much to learn. To learn requires time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Use Your Superpowers for the Good of Mankind...

I was talking to my sister the other day and we were talking about something mothers often talk about, how to get your children to develop their talents and then use them for good. My sister has a talent for classic one-liners and she said that she just needed to get her son to 'use his superpowers for the good of mankind'. Exactly! We had a good laugh.
Her comment got me thinking about a lot of things. There was a cute little grandmother that lived in our neighborhood growing up. She was old when I met her at the age of 5, but she has lived a long life and is still going. She is very old now. She had a habit of writing down birthdays and anniversaries and other important dates on a little calendar. For years and years she has sent me a card on my birthday. She remembered my anniversary. She sent cards for my graduations. She sent these little remembrances to me, but also to hundreds of others who have fallen into her wide circle of love. I once mentioned how amazed I was by this gift to my mother who said, "I know, think of all the good this sweet little woman has done with just a calendar." She made a small gift go a long way. A superpower?
There is enough trouble, enough darkness, enough sadness in the world without adding to it. I find in the media, in music, in literature and in art those who possess great talent, enviable talent, but they use it to create further darkness. Their talent is then destructive, wasted.
One of my favorite books is Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The story is dark. The character of Jean Valjean has many troubles and yet one act of kindness purchases his soul for good and ever after he returns every evil act with one of generosity and kindness. In a dark world, the light of his example still inspires.
It's easier to get attention by being shocking, ugly and dark, but the attention is short lived. Immortality belongs to those who use meagre or great talents to create a spot of light, a place of beauty, a moment of peace. They will always be remembered.
My great uncle passed away recently. He was a great man and a hero of mine. At his funeral, his son told a story:
Dad was a supervisor at a large mine. When I was about five years old, he took me deep into the mine so that I could see it. After looking around for a time, I told him that it was too dark and I was frightened. He said, "take my hand and I will lead you into the light." .. and he has done that for me my whole life.
There is no life that hasn't been touched by some trouble, some darkness. When we come through trouble, we can find a way to show compassion to another and help them find their way. When we are in trouble, we can take the hand of a friend. We can look to the light, even if it is just a tiny pin point of hope, we can move toward it.
It is the responsibility of artists to uncover the places where light, peace and beauty exist and show them to the world. It is the responsibility of art to banish the darkness by exposing the despots, tyrants, evil, lies and unkindness with such a bright light they must melt away like the Dorothy's wicked witch.
In all seriousness, I believe that each of us has been given a superpower. They grow in strength when they are used for good. They can make us immortal. Or, if our intentions are ugly or wicked our life's efforts can disappear into the oblivion of the ages. The world has many troubles.. no gift no matter how small should be left unused. Use your superpowers for the good of mankind.. Today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Butterflies and Daisy Flowers Shower...








These photos are not the best. I had to take them with my shy baby l on my other arm and so I snapped them off pretty quickly.. but you get the idea hopefully. Parties at Mom's are so much fun!
Congratulations Melissa! We are so happy for you!

Together Forever Love Box...


Monday, July 13, 2009

Rich Frog's Fun Baby Toys...


has some darling things for babies... These baby crinklers are wonderful and wash right up in the washing machine. They have wonderful pull toys and stuffed animals and I love their picture blocks.. very cute.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Water Damage...

Yesterday, the check engine light went on in my car. Yipes! I thought for sure the car was a done deal.. (yep, I can be a bit dramatic) and I was already planning how I would have to get used to something new, which is a good thing for many, but not for OCD me. My car has magazine racks in both front doors, cup holders, a place for my bag, a place for loose change and a huge trunk for all my park/kid gear and after 10 years it still gets 38 miles to the gallon. I don't like new cars... or new handbags.. or new shoes for that matter. In fact, my whole wardrobe is more of a uniform than what you would call clothes. (I know, I need serious intervention). Anyway, I quickly made a u-turn and went to see Jo at Main Street Oil. Jo diagnosed the problem and had me on my way in 4 minutes.. no charge. I'm a fan of Jo's. Though my heart was pounding as I left the garage, I realized that I didn't wreck the car after all, in fact Jo thinks it's in good shape and I don't need to see him for another thousand miles. Hooray! I dodged that one!
Life can have more drama than you need sometimes and I'm so grateful for our community and our friends for so much help when it was needed. When little c broke her leg riding her scooter, C and I did not witness the accident because c had gone off ahead of us. Kind strangers came to find us and helped us get her, her scooter and helmet into the car. My brother-in-law is our family physician and he has taken exceptional care of her. A good friend of ours has been her wonderful physical therapist and he told her that she could, "fire him!" today because her leg and ankle are now strong enough to heal on their own. This has been a long process and we still have to check to make sure the growth plates are doing their job and all is well next month.
Yesterday, I found that some pipes had broken above the ceiling in the hallway. So, like all of you, there's always something and this is the next thing. The drywall and insulation and who knows what will have to be replaced and repaired. We didn't dodge this one.. it hit. However, I feel pretty zen about it at the moment. This is nothing compared with a broken child. Worse things have before and will happen again in the future I'm sure.
In the end, the house and the car are wonderful things and I do like to keep things "as is" too much sometimes... And so, I suppose if whatever it is that breaks is just a thing.. we ought to simply be grateful. Things can be repaired or replaced, people often can't be repaired and they can never be replaced... a lesson we learn many times over during a lifetime. I've had lots of things repaired and replaced, I know I don't remember even half of them, but we all remember those we've loved and lost. We remember them ... forever.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lime Cilantro Dressing...

1/3 cup lime juice
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 T sugar
1 T chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup light olive oil
1 1/2 T Cholula Hot Sauce
4 T Red Wine Vinegar
1 garlic clove

Throw it all in the blender. I served it over mixed greens with sweet corn, salsa fresca, black beans, a little Mexican cheese and some lime chicken tenders in pieces. Good eats. (a little avocado would have been delish).

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Jillian Michaels Trouble Zones...

My sister sent me this work out.. as .. just a small hint.. you're a chub.. get off the couch! Thanks Boo! :) Anywho.. we tried it and OUCH! But, actually quite fun! Really.. Thanks Boo! We looked ridiculous and can't do push ups at all, but we had a great time!
P.S. We didn't have any small weights so I asked little c if she wanted to use some cans of soup for our second go at this deal.. She said dryly, "Do we get to eat the soup after?...??"

Flower Head Bands...


I have seen these everywhere recently, but think that these from Banner Boutique are particularly cute.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day...

I love the stories of the revolution and to read about the amazing strength and fortitude of the men and women who founded this great nation. I hope you won't mind if I share a favorite of these stories.

During the early spring of 1783 General Washington's officer corp had become angry to the point of violence. Those soldiers who had served in the major campaigns of the war, who had been true and faithful, had not been paid for a great while. There was serious talk that the very same soldiers who had fought so valiantly for their country, now angered because of their grievances against the congress, were mutinous and threatening to overthrow the government they had suffered and bled to establish. Any reasoned man could understand their feeling. They had risked all and suffered much and then were forced to have their hands out like beggars.

Washington wrote to congress many times on their behalf without satisfaction. When, the situation became critical, Washington came to address his men who were angry and hostile. He gave his word that he would continue to advocate for them. He told them with great feeling of his gratitude for their service. They were unmoved.

Then, he said, "You will (thereby) give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings. And you will, by the dignity of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind: 'Had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.'"

The soldiers still were hostile.
(The following is taken from Benson Bobrick's book Angel in the Whirlwind.. pg. 475)

"Then, remembering that he had brought a letter with him from a sympathetic congressman, Washington took it out to read it, paused for a moment as though he were having difficulty making out the words, reached into his pocket again, and took out a pair of eyeglasses. Apologizing for the delay, he remarked quietly, 'I have already grown gray in the service of my country. I am now going blind.'
That completely personal, seemingly offhand remark-- 'so natural, so unaffected... as rendered it superior to the most studied oratory,' wrote one major-- recalled his audience to themselves. 'It forced its way into the heart, and you might see sensibility moisten every eye.' When he had finished, the officers thanked him, asked him to intercede on their behalf, and quietly left the hall'"

We live in a country made by men & women like Washington... true leaders. They inspired a generation to rise above and become their best selves. Entitlement was not allowed, selfishness could not survive such examples of valiance and sacrifice. They created a great nation built on the concept of Liberty. They have willed these freedoms to us. Have we forgotten them? Do we know their stories? Do we understand well the concepts the generations before us and even some in our own generation have fought to preserve. What is it worth? For so many it has been worth their blood and their lives. Freedom truly is not free. I ask, is it worth some little of your time, your study and your contemplation.. every day, but especially on days like today? Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Tea with Mussolini...

How did I miss this one?? I never saw this film until just yesterday and it is a beautiful thing.
I loved the story of the lovely old English ladies who had decided to make a home amid the beautiful art and sun filled landscape of Florence and the garish, swaggering Americans who set the tea service askew and how in the end, they find a mutual respect in a fight to save art and liberty together.
If you haven't seen it.. it's a must see. If you haven't seen if for awhile.. I'd check it out again. Lovely.
P.S. Cher if by some miracle you ever read this.. Do a standards album. I have never heard Smoke Gets in Your Eyes more gorgeously done. Stunning.

Gattaca...


I have wanted to see this film for a long time because it has come so highly recommended. Even though I'm not really a Science Fiction/Fantasy fan, I thought it was pretty interesting. I just have some brain sprain during shows like this that keep me from enjoying it properly.. like, "If they can visit the moons of Saturn, then why can't they cure spinal cord injuries." "If they can genetically engineer folksies down to their eye color, then why can't they cure spinal cord injuries." "If they can chop your legs off, and put them in halos and grow your legs 2-3 inches.. after your growth plates have closed.. then why can't they cure spinal cord injuries.. and even alcoholism now that I think of it." You see how this goes around and around.
This movie came out 11 years ago and some of the Science Fiction is a reality... or technology has bettered film fantasy.
In the film they scan fingerprints, but now we have a retinal eye scanner. A company in Salt Lake called Sarcos develops these amazing exoskeletons that can assist a man in lifting heavy weight and all kinds of things.. when you see it, it makes you think of Marvel Comics super heroes. I guess in a way we live in the future some of these older films dreamed of, happily, the future has been much brighter than imagined.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Witness for the Prosecution...


Other than the character of the nagging, annoying nurse, this film is timeless. Originally a famous short story by Agatha Christie, it was then a play and then adapted for film. The screenplay is well done and the dialogue moves along at a quick clip. Charles Laughton was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his part in this film and it shows. It's a good one.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009