Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've been talking about the Vinegar of 4 Thieves for years now, ever since I first learned of it while Dustin was on his mission in the Amazon and picked up some parasites. I cultivated the herbs the summer before he arrived home so I'd be ready to treat what ailed him. He dutifully took it, then went to the doctor, who couldn't find a trace of the parasites anymore. I've since used it with varying success over the years to treat colds and flu. I say "varying" because it depends how close to the onset of symptoms I can take it--the earlier the better. Those who put it off til they are miserable (that's you, Richard) usually don't see much effect. This week I was in a health food store and saw several 2-ounce eye-dropper-type bottles on the counter labeled "Thieves" selling for $23.00 each. I burst out laughing and asked the clerk if that was for real? I have a gallon of it at home from the last batch I made that is easily worth over a thousand dollars at that price! Well, it is now colds and flu season and last night I was awakened with a stuffy right nostril..I got up and began the Thieves Regimen. In the morning, having had little sleep, I was feeling yucky, but had to go in to work for a meeting. At noon though, I came home, self-medicated again with thieves and vitamin C, and sleep a couple hours. I just woke up without any cold symptoms! I wonder if knowing how much it "costs" has anything to do with it's effectiveness now??

Monday, November 30, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Several blogs that I follow, Cornflower, Brigitte Dale, and Sami's had entries recently about the little things (emphasis on little and things) that make us happy. Here's my attempt and will try not to be too influenced by their suggestions (although "new box of crayons" is right up there...).

  1. Macaroni & Cheese (Martha Stewart's recipe, not the Kraft boxes...)
  2. Hyacinths and lilacs (Hmm. Neither of which are in my the moment...)
  3. Small blank books--oh! the possibilities!
  4. Scarves--a new obsession since being in London.
  5. Hot, hot showers.
  6. Ok, I give up. New box of crayons. Doesn't even have to be the 64 size, but it helps.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh, She's my dear, my darling one

We had 6 yr old Renee over for a sleepover this weekend, and when it came time for our evening ritual of watching the news, Rich asked Renee, "You like watching the news don't you, Renee?"

She said, "No."

"What?" says Rich, " Aren't you interested in what is happening in the world?"

Renee responded, "No, I am only interested in princesses, fairies and leprachauns." So, instead of watching Brian Williams, we watched Darby O'Gill...

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Rich and I were at a board meeting last night for our Library System. After the meeting got out, we were leaving with a few other people who were commenting on how much they liked the Tumwater (my) library. Dick said, "I love the Tumwater Library! It's such a welcoming place!" Mike said, "I love the Tumwater Library too!" Then Rich said, "I love the Tumwater Library Manager!" It was sweet because it was so spontaneous! And I appreciate that he didn't feel self-conscious expressing his love in front of our co-workers.
I'm a lucky woman!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Puppy Love

Quincy immediately latched onto the stuffed dog we brought for her and took him on our outing, a walk to the field and then down the road to the stop sign. About an hour after we got home, she said, "My puppy is missing..." We looked all over the house, then she said, "I think he is at the stop sign..." We all mounted an expedition, this time armed with a flashlight, as it was getting dark. As we neared the end of the street, Nephi spotted a dark lump on the sidewalk and sure enough, puppy was there waiting to be found. It was pretty amazing that a 3-year-old could "walk backward" through her actions to remember where she most probably left her toy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Step it up! (and Mind the Gap)

You don't see too many overweight Londoners and here's the reason why: steps. The millions that use the Tube have to walk and walk and go up and down many steps. Londoners walk very fast also, wherever they go. We walked an average of 5 hrs each day, and one day, just for fun, I kept track of how many stairs we went UP (not even counting down steps.) Every time I reached 100 stairs, I tied a knot in my scarf. At the end of the day, we had gone up 1035 steps. That was a pretty typical day. It wasn't even the day I went up this monument to the Great Fire of 1666: 311 stairs. I did it in 3 minutes and got a certificate proving the fact. I also got a fabulous 360 view of London from the top!


The advantage of visiting England is that even though it is a "foreign" country, there isn't (supposed) to be a language barrier... but I felt like I had to translate everywhere we went, as Rich couldn't understand the British accent and he spoke so quietly all the time that no one could understand what he said.
But music is the universal language and the highlight, for both Rich and I (when we compared notes later) was experiencing a John Lennon impersonator sing John's songs in the Cavern in Liverpool (where the Beatles first performed before making it big.) It was an emotional experience for me, as I could imagine what it might have been like hearing them (or John, at least) sing there in the 60s.

Perfect Love

Twice in the past week, as we have traveled to London and now to Colorado, I have heard about the effects of oxytocin in the brain. On Sunday we arrived at Hyde Park Chapel an hour early for Church, unaware that it was their Stake Conference instead of Fast Sunday. One of the speakers referred to the scripture, “Perfect love casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18) She told of how oxytocin floods a woman’s brain when she gives birth, giving her feelings of heightened love and pleasure. This translates to a bonding experience with her newborn.

A scientific experiment was conducted in which two groups were given vials, one containing oxytocin, the other a placebo. Right before viewing/experiencing something that should normally induce feelings of fear, they opened the vials and inhaled the essence. They were wired to monitors which recorded the brain activity, and in those who received the oxytocin, the “fear” reactors did not reach up into the brain. Those with the placebo felt the full effect of the negative emotional reaction.

Just now on the plane to Colorado, I watched a show called the Music Brain. Sting underwent a brain scan with scientists that were studying the brains of musicians. Turns out that music can also release oxytocin into the brain. The more we move to the music, the bigger the effect.

I always find it interesting when science reinforces scripture.

(BTW, photo is new granddaughter, Norah Gail Fillmore. We are in Colorado bonding with our newest family member.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ordeal of Freedom

Feeling retrospective as I've been reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi. She tells of the oppression and suppression of women under the Ayatollahs and the pleasures of little rebellions, like wearing red nail polish under their black gloves. It reminded me of my "little rebellions" when I was a student at BYU. The dress code forbade the wearing of jeans on campus, so my roommate, Janine, made for each of us a jean skirt made from our blue jeans, which we then wore to a dance. We were such mavericks! Our situation, of course, can't compare to the cruelties of Islamic Iran, but...I thought of it again when I was at Parker Paints picking up the ugly orange paint that was mandated by Jubilee, our housing area, for the outsides of our fence that faces the public. I resented that we had no choice in the matter and "they" had picked such a horrible shade of stain. Agency is such a precious gift, any little seeming infringement feels offensive, even when it in reality is a consequence of our choices: I chose to attend BYU knowing full well of the dress code and happily signing on the dotted line; we chose to live in a Homeowner Association community specifically because there were rules that prevented people from painting their fences chartreuse and littering their front lawns with pink flamingoes...

And I am absolutely grateful to live in America and not Iran...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I knew that!

I'm in the library, talking to the Aflac representative, who is here from 9-12 to talk to staff. His first question was, what did I know about Aflac? I said I knew it was insurance, but mostly for catastrophic illness or accident coverage. His eyes got wide and he lifted his hand for a High-5 as he exclaimed, "No one has ever used that word to answer me and it is absolutely correct!!" I responded, "well, I am a librarian...I do know some big words..."

(p.s. This was a synchronicity because right before this V had told me of a similar incident that had just happened to her at work)

Monday, September 21, 2009

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one painting....or, if you could choose from any painting to own (Impressionist, Old limits!), which would it be? This was a question posed in the book I just checked out called The Gentle Art of Domesticity: stitching, baking, nature, art & the comforts of home, by Jane Brocket (she actually phrased the question, "Which work of art would you happily steal?" but we are assuming there is a fairy god-mother involved here for our benefit...). I've been browsing the 700's off and on all day and couldn't decide--Vermeer? Wyeth? Monet? Then I saw a book of watercolors and decided my choice would have to be a watercolor, because I personally find that medium very difficult and admire those who can pull it off. I was impressed with the works of Xiaogang Zhu, and actually took a gouache class from him once here at Jubilee. Very Difficult. So I think I would like to own Zhu's Red Umbrella over Arched Bridge (above) or his Waiting for Spring. Lovely. Which would you choose?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Must be the thing to do

Reading a Communications Bulletin for Managers and Supervisors, an idea jumped out at me: celebrate mistakes. By encouraging employees to share their errors with the team, everyone would learn from the mistake, and disciplining would be unnecessary. At the same time as I was mulling the merits of this, I was listening to a book on CD: How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer, and found it sychronistic that it contained these similar messages:

  • Self criticism is the secret to self-improvement; negative feedback is the best kind (Bill Robertie, backgammon master)
  • An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in his field (Niels Bohr)
  • Mistakes should be cultivated and carefully investigated
  • Mistakes are the building blocks of knowledge
  • Unless you experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong, your brain will never revise its models.

So, I think Celebrating Mistakes may take the place of the Kudos lists I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to encourage with staff. Now I just have to think of a mistake of my own I can publish to get the ball rolling...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Doesn't Hurt to Try

Frustration at the gas pump: I pulled in to Costco for gas behind a car and an SUV pulling a boat. (It really was the shortest line at the time). The SUV took FOREVER of course, to fill, but then, the woman pulled forward and climbed into the boat and proceeded to fill the boat's tank with gas as well. There were two women with the boat, and I wondered at the time why they didn't use the 2nd pump to fill the boat at the same time as the SUV, as they were blocking both pumps anyway. The car in front of me pulled forward then, but didn't get out and pump her gas. I got out and went to her window and asked her why she wasn't using the 2nd pump that had just been vacated, and she said she assumed it was broken because there was a safety cone in front of it, up against the curb. By that time, the attendant came over and I asked him if the pump was out of order (there was no sign on it, just the cone). He said he just arrived on duty and didn't know, but thought it was because of the cone. He looked closely at the pump display, then moved away. At that time, the boat finally (after about 15 minutes) pulled away and the car in front of me moved forward enough for me to reach the second "broken" pump. I ignored the cone, put my cards in and it was all systems "GO." "Pump seems to work just fine," I informed the woman ahead of me.
Life is full of Lemmings; sometimes you just gotta push forward into the uncertain and give things a try. Another exercise in patience.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Emperor has no clothes?

I grew up in the 60s. I wore bell-bottoms, and tie-dyed shirts and my music was Donovan, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and the Beach Boys. And I read Richard Brautigan (In Watermelon Sugar; The Revenge of the Lawn, Trout Fishing in America). Working in the "book business" (bookstores and libraries) since I was a teen, I've come across Brautigan time and again and remembered his work as cool, and innovative and...weird. Today I just finished re-reading the above, along with The Abortion, and The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and I have to say, I think he's just weird. I found this clip of him--brushing his teeth and reading a few excerpts from his works--and he reminded me of a young man who comes in to the library frequently: quirky and maybe not all mentally and socially "there."

Brautigan committed suicide in 1984, but he still has a following: a website of devotees, and from his Wikipedia entry
  • "But when his novel Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967, Brautigan was catapulted to international fame and labeled by literary critics as the writer most representative of the emerging countercultural youth-movement of the late 1960s")
  • Also in a 1980 letter to Brautigan from W. P. Kinsella, Kinsella states that Brautigan is his greatest influence for writing and his favorite book is In Watermelon Sugar.
  • In March 1994, a teenager named Peter Eastman Jr. from Carpinteria, California legally changed his name to "Trout Fishing in America", and now teaches English in Japan. [9] At around the same time, National Public Radio reported on a young couple who had named their baby "Trout Fishing in America".
  • There is a folk rock band called Trout Fishing in America.[10], and another called Watermelon Sugar[11], which quotes the opening paragraph of that book on their home page. The industrial rock band Machines of Loving Grace took their name from one of Brautigan's best-known poems.
  • In the UK The Library of Unwritten Books is a project in which ideas for novels are collected and stored. The venture is inspired by Brautigan's novel The Abortion.
  • The library for unpublished works envisioned by Brautigan in his novel The Abortion now exists as The Brautigan Library in Burlington, Vermont.[12]
  • There are two stores named "In Watermelon Sugar" after Brautigan's novella, one in Baltimore, Maryland and one in Traverse City, Michigan.
I don't get it. But this time around, I did enjoy reading The Abortion, working in a library as I do. I just hope Brandolyn & Golden don't get any ideas about naming my next grandchild from any Richard Brautigan novel...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where's my car??

I called Rich at 5:15 to see if he'd be ready to go home at 5:30. Yep. So at 5:28 I start packing up my stuff and can't find my keys...I even look in the Library lost and found, then panic that maybe I dropped them on the way in. I rush outside and...MY CAR IS GONE! I must have lost the keys, someone found them, and drove my car away!!! What will I tell Rich?? Wait..did I get dropped off this morning?... I remember now that Rich had a Dr. appointment...ah...HE has the car today! Phew!
He was 5 minutes late picking me up because he was standing outside the Service Center waiting for ME to pick HIM up. Then he noticed the car in the lot and wondered why I parked there instead of driving up to the curb to wait as usual...then he remembered that HE had the car...and got out his keys.

What are we going to do?? Both of us are losing our minds at the same time!! Synchronized Alzheimer's.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Fives

So, Carolyn tagged me a couple months ago, but it's taken me awhile to think of all these things. I'm not a big planner--I tend to take things as they come. Here goes...

Five years ago I was:

  1. Planning for a family reunion at a California beach house
  2. Thinking about selling my "dream home" in Dryden
  3. Worrying about what to do with Vanessa for her senior year of high school
  4. Working on finishing my MLIS degree at Syracuse University
  5. Enjoying a 25 hr/week job as Director of the Southworth Library
Five things on my To-Do list today:

  1. Eat healthy and exercise
  2. Watch "Libraries and Autism" training video
  3. Take a motorcycle ride with Rich
  4. Check periodically with Vanessa to be sure she is still breathing and hasn't gone into anaphylactic shock
  5. Get milk

5 things I'd do with 1 Million Dollars:

  1. Become the financial backer for Golden's fly rod company
  2. Buy homes for Vanessa, Dustin and Rachel & Jay (and pay off Fillmore's mortgage)
  3. Hmmm. That might be all I could do. One million doesn't go as far these days...if there was any left, I'd bank it for a
  4. mission
  5. retirement

5 Places I've lived:

  1. Massachusetts (5 different addresses)
  2. Texas
  3. Europe (2 places: Belgium & Germany)
  4. California
  5. Virginia

5 Jobs I've held:

  1. Quality Control at Ore-Ida Potato Factory in Burley, ID
  2. Custodian/Bookstore clerk (at BYU--did the bookstore thing again in MA)
  3. Machine operator in a plastics factory (Massachusetts)
  4. Administrative Assistant to a Vice Principal, Madison High School
  5. Computer Lab Aide at Redland Oaks Elementary School

5 years from now I will be:

  1. Getting ready to attend Quincy Fillmore's baptism
  2. Planning a trip to Disneyland (or similar destination) with 5 year old "baby" Fillmore
  3. Playing Five for Fighting's "100 years" flawlessly on the piano
  4. Traveling
  5. Running marathons

Thanks for the opportunity to do this, Carolyn! I don't know 5 other people who blog who haven't already done this to pass it on...

  1. Maybe Joella, I don't see that she's done it yet, and
  2. Veronica; and
  3. Annie and
  4. Kelly and
  5. Brandolyn could just send me an email with their Fives Lists

How do you know?

This is how I know...(by no means an exhaustive list..)
  • He saves the raw broccoli stalks for me
  • He kills slugs in my garden
  • He put a passenger seat and sissy bar on his Harley
  • He doesn't give me chocolates for Valentines' Day
  • He writes poems for me (actually, a whole book of poetry!)
  • He watches Pushing Daisies with me
  • He records shows he thinks I'll like to surprises me (Michael Buble, Pierce Brosnan interview)
  • He calls during the day just to check in and say "hi."
  • He recycles and composts
  • He encourages me to paint and puts up with the mess--in the kitchen
  • He bought a baby grand
  • He let me choose the paint colors for the house (inside and out! I went with his choice on the front door)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ring ring

Whenever I talk to my daughters on the phone, you know the conversation is over, not by "we'll talk to you later," or "well, I've gotta go," but by the phrase, "love ya." And, as I talk to at least one of my daughters sometimes several times a day, "love ya, bye" tends to roll off the tongue...
So I had a phone message at work from a manager at the Service Center. (And I think my daughter had just called prior to that...) I returned his call, and got his voice mail. I confirmed our meeting time, then closed, "love ya, bye." And hung up. And felt sick. WHAT DID I JUST DO??!! Can't take it back, it's on the voicemail. Can't call back--that would make it worse. Ignore it? Never look that person in the eye again? Hope the phone connection was garbly (which it often is at TRL...)? Laugh? I picked that one. I went in to my co-worker's office here at Tumwater and told her what I had just done-- and we both had a good laugh about it.
Thanks, Rachel--I think you started us all on this!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

finishing each other's sentences

Rich and I were in the kitchen the other day, both lost in thought. What we didn't realize, was we were lost in the same thought! I was singing Viva la Vida in my head and then suddenly began humming the part..."I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing..."
Rich turned and stared at me. "What song are you humming?"
"Viva la Vida.."
"Not only was I singing that song in my head just now, but I had just finished the part, '...Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand' when you picked up at that moment humming the next line!"

What can I say? After 33 years, I guess we are finally getting in-sync!

not all bad

I spent most of yesterday at work on "graffiti guard duty" outside the men's public toilet. Two days in a row we have had graffiti painted on the walls there. The first time, we called the police in to see if the symbols were gang-related. They weren't. The officer called them, "gang wanna-be" symbols. (The facilities guy who came to paint over it said he was just trying to spare me, they actually were gang code for "get the Librarian" haha.) The next day the same symbol was there again, painted over the newly painted wall. So I spent the day pretending to clean windows in the foyer, but actually watching every person who used the restroom, scrutinizing their faces and composing descriptions (25-yr-old Caucasian male, approx 6'2", shaved head, white t-shirt, jeans). Then when they left, I'd call out: "Maintenance!" go in the stalls and check to see if the graffiti returned. If not, I'd erase the previous user from my description bank and lurk around waiting for the next. Very tedious, but I knew if I left, that was when he would strike. 
Anyway, the serendipity of it all was, as I was browsing the "free" magazines rack in the foyer (looking casual to any observer) I found this cool photograph of a California mission window I thought I'd like to paint. 
And no, Faux Gang Member didn't strike. (But I'm sure he must have stopped in to see if we covered over his work...this is not over...)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I think of myself as a nice person--easy to get along with, kind...but lately, I have been annoying a lot of people...
First there was Asian Man at the treadmill. Next, my neighbor, one of the few in my neighborhood I've actually spent time cultivating a friendship with, isn't speaking to me because I painted my house red. Seems she finds the color very jarring as she looks at it from her backyard. She can't understand why I didn't consult with her before choosing this color (I didn't tell her there was no "choosing" about it--this was the only color I wanted). Then today, I was doing my morning run, jogging into my housing area, where the speed limit is 5 mph anyway, and I got angry gestures and facial expressions from a woman driver who indicated I should be up on the sidewalk. I guess she isn't much of a runner or she would know that the cement sidewalk is way worse for joints than the asphalt road...
I'm trying to be nice, but I just can't seem to please people these days.
(And BTW, isn't my house absolutely gorgeous this color?!!)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Balancing Act

We go to the lodge every morning at 6:00 to exercise before going to work. Everyone else there is retired...why do they come so early??? The other day I walked in and 3 of the 4 treadmills were in use, so I quickly staked my claim by putting my iphone, headphones and water bottle on the last available machine before putting my gear in the locker room. When I came back out, a diminutive Asian man was standing near the foot of "my" treadmill, stretching, as if he was about to step onto it. I moved around him, hopped on, and began my workout. Yes, just like when you pull ahead of a parking space to back in, and someone pulls into it behind you...I was that person. I didn't even say anything to him, like, "I already called 'dibs' on this..." He walked away and got on a stationary bike. So, my workout was ruined as I stewed about my bad behavior. I thought I had a chance to redeem myself, when a woman came over to the fan that was running in front of me and took it away to place in front of her treadmill.  I didn't say anything, though I was thinking indignant thoughts ("What am I, chopped liver??"). She then looked at me like she just realized what she'd done and asked, "Do you want to share this? I can put it in the middle and set it to oscillate..." But I said, "No, I'm here to sweat, you take it," thinking my magnanimous gesture would redeem me from my previous rudeness. It didn't. *sigh*. I was going to have to apologize.  By now, Little Asian Man had gone into the locker room. I waited, my eyes on the door, for him to appear. When he did, I hopped down, went over to him and said, "I need to apologize for my rudeness in cutting in front of you earlier--that wasn't very nice of me." "No pwoblem...", he bowed. 
Every day, just gotta try to be a little bit better than the day before...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Luckiest girl in the world

In 1967 I went to a Carnival and got my fortune from the "Madame Zelda" automated booth. A slip of paper spewed out with the guiding words that the onyx stone was my lucky stone, and I should wear it and good fortune would follow. So I began badgering my parents to get me the needed ring; which they did, for my 12th birthday at the Old Mill Restaurant in Westminster. It was put in my water glass when I went to the Ladies' Room, and when I came back and saw it, I thought our waitress must have accidently lost it.
Fast-forward to 2009 right before Valentines' Day. We were in the jeweler's shop getting my engagement ring repaired and I saw this fabulous onyx ring. I REALLY wanted it, but knew it was a luxury I didn't need--I already had all the luck and good fortune anyone could want! But I kept thinking about it (ok, obsessing about it) over the next few months...("This ring I'm wearing now is only a place-holder for the onyx..." "maybe we could spend 10 days instead of 2 weeks in London and get my ring with the savings...").
Unbeknownst to me, Rich had purchased it almost immediately after I first saw it, and was saving it for our 33rd anniversary trip. The dilemma for him was when to present it, so he ended up carrying it around in his pocket for almost the whole week. (I should have guessed something was up when he was burdened with luggage and asked me to get the hotel key out of his pocket, then as I went to reach in, he immediately jumped back and said, "Nevermind! I've got it!" as he remembered what else was in that same pocket...)
We actually went to the Old Mill Restaurant of family tradition, but it wasn't quite our anniversary yet...We ate in the Singapore where we got engaged, but it wasn't quite classy enough. Finally, the Longfellow's Wayside Inn was both the right date and the right tone for the romantic gesture. Perfect! I was so excited! I'm so lucky to have married my thoughtful, romantic sweetheart!

Monday, May 25, 2009

33 Places

This was a real trip down Memory Lane! With some fudging (see #8) we visited 33 places on our 33rd anniversary trip to Boston and points NE.

1. Quincy, MA/John Adams’ house

2. Plimoth plantation

3. Mayflower 2

4. Walden Pond (tried to re-read Thoreau for the occasion but got bogged down...)

5. Old Mill Restaurant--a family favorite in Westminster.

6. Ft. Devens, now just Devens, where we lived when we were first married. Our 2 homes no longer exist.

7. Townsend harbour/Warren Rd.: my first childhood home. Floods of memories: my crush on the boy next door; where I was standing when I learned my grandmother had died; go-carts my dad made.

8. Townsend Center: my 2nd home on Riverbank terrace; the library--my favorite place!; secret hideouts with my detecting partner, Sara; Spaulding Memorial School, McNabb Pharmacy (traumatic story); St. John’s Catholic Church (more religious trauma that shaped my future in a profound way); Town Common: band-concerts and bazaars.

9. Fitchurg High School--we went inside--very oppressive, like a prison. No wonder I still have nightmares about being a student again and not being able to find my locker and being late for class. The only highlight was Mr. Boyle and Latin class.

10. Rollstone Hill--all the "cool" kids (the ones who went there to drink and party) climbed it each year to whitewash the hillside with FHS and their year. I never went then, so made Rich climb the hill with me now. It's a great view...

11. Marshall Rd--My Grampa "Candy Man's" home.

12. Ashby west Rd--The idyllic teen years of joining the Church, riding my horse on the (now prohibited) Crocker Trails.

13. Melansons--Long-time family friends; fun to hear stories of my parents

14. Don's garage. An entrepreneurial venture of my Dad's. Got a photo of the spot, but the garage is long-gone.

15. Memorial JR High school--met my friend, Holly here, who introduced me to the Church.

16. Leominster church--where the LDS met, and where I met Richard for the first time.

17. Singapore restaurant--where Rich and I got engaged. My fortune cookie said, "You will marry the one you love." Rich's said, "If you don't want anyone to know, don't do it."

18. Coggshall park (pictured at top). Lot's of birthday parties and picnics here. The trail around the pond seemed a lot longer (and scarier) when I was a kid!

19. Boston temple--we spend the morning of our 33rd anniversary doing family sealings here. It's our favorite temple now!

20. Kimballs ice cream--a tourist destination. Pint-sized cones for $4. I'd planned on getting the Grapenut flavor for months--a real highlight!

21. Massachusetts Archives--did some genealogy research and was intrigued to learn that the family member we sought listed herself as a physician back in 1891 on her marriage registry. Warrants checking into...

22. Kennedy library

23. JFK birthplace

24. Longfellow’s Wayside Inn/Gristmill--fabulous old tavern and inn made famous by a visit from Longfellow and his subsequent book based on his visit: Tales of a Wayside Inn. (Yes, we bought a copy of the book.) Rich gave me a gorgeous onyx ring to celebrate our anniversary; it has a "33" engraved inside.

25. Mary’s Schoolhouse--Mary actually did have a little lamb and it did actually follow her to her one-room school house, in Sterling, MA. The school house is long gone, but recreated from its lumber by Henry Ford when he purchased the Wayside Inn and surrounding property. He created a tableau of the Inn, the Little Red Schoolhouse, the Grist Mill and white-steepled church on the hill. Very picturesque.

26. Boston museum of fine art--Impressionists, Rembrandts. Very fine.

27. Gardner museum--The building itself was a big part of the "collection." We came out to find we'd been parked for 2 hrs in front of a hydrant. Dodged that bullet!

28. Harvard yard/The coop. Here they really do say, "Paak the caa in Haavid Yaad." I'm so glad I managed to rid myself of the accent!

29. Durgin park/Fanueil hall. Lunch and shopping.

30. Nichols' house--a peek inside the life of 1800s Boston Brahmins.

31. Boston Common. Bigger than we remembered. Lots of joggers, dog-walkers, families enjoying the day.

32. Paul Revere house/Freedom Trail

33. Newbery Street--wished we had more time to stop and browse this upscale shopping district. The one store I wanted to see, "Sugar Heaven" seems to have gone out of business or moved. Oh, well, with all the ice cream and elaborate meals I had on this trip, I really didn't need any candy, but the concept was intriguing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One of those dreams

I had a dream the other night that I had to write a paper for a class about a gas station and how the owner came to have the business. In the dream I decided to write the paper on the gas station my dad ran in Fitchburg so I could use it as a family history vignette as well. I woke up and made a note on my cell phone to remember that I actually did want to write about it. Then I called my mom to get some details about that venture. I'm sure the dream was triggered by my newly renewed interest in family history via my calling a couple months ago (and release as Relief Society Pres) as a Ward Family History Consultant. I've raced through all the online training modules and spent 6+ hours at the computer last Sunday on ((BTW, in the process, I discovered that is a fabulously effective low-cal diet: when I am engrossed in family history, I don't even think about food). Another tie-in is the upcoming trip to Boston and environs where my family tree is rooted. I've added the gas-station site to my list of 33 (now I have to find something to drop in its place...)

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Short-staffed today so I am shelving books awhile. I make a really poor page, as I get easily distracted by titles in the stacks. Like this one by Amy Sedaris entitled I Like You. Here's a quote from page 47 on how to entertain a blind date in your own home:

"I once agreed to have a first date over for dinner and found out I had to work that day. I pressed my pantsuit, got my apartment spic-and-span, and decided on a meal that I felt confident I could prepare in an hour: porterhouse steak, mashed potatoes, salad, and watermelon wedges for dessert. I also planned on serving sangria, bcause I had a pile of fuit that was beginning to turn. I put out some unshelled walnuts in a bowl to complement the sangria. When I got home from work I immediately boiled water for the potatoes, turned on the broiler and threw my steak in. I only had an hour, but because I had preplanned well, I knew I would make it just under the deadline. Unfortunately, my date showed up fifteen minutes early...with a friend that wasn't invited. They had stopped for a slice of pizza on the way so they didn't want to eat "until all that cheese settled." My date then turned on the tv so he could catch the last few minutes of the Hornets game. He and his buddy drank multiple glasses of sangria, ate fistfuls of caramels, and emptied my nut bowl as those few minutes dragged on for more than an hour and a half. By the time dinner was on the table the sangria was gone, the potatoes were cold, the salad was limp, and my steak was not only exhausted, it was humiliated. When we got around to dessert, he insisted on carving the watermelon, but dropped it on the floor. Too drunk to hail a cab, he sent his friend home, fell asleep on my bed and woke up in his own vomit. We dated for two years."

Sunday, April 19, 2009


So, we finally made it into the Unshelved comic strip. After our vending machine incident, I wrote up the whole vending story and sent it to Gene and Bill for possible use in their strip. Last week the first sequence appeared. Looks like they aren't running the whole story sequentially, but I can hardly wait for the final episode. Stay tuned!

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without*

I wanted to find a shampoo that came in bar form, in my efforts to reduce my dependence on plastics and minimize my carbon footprint, but wasn't having much luck. Then someone recommended Ralph's Thriftway for an unrelated product, and there I found this J. R. Liggett's Shampoo bar. It's everything I was looking for and then some: minimal packaging (wrapped in biodegradable paper), no preservatives, no animal products, 100% biodegradable, pure olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, New Hampshire spring water. There was a J. R. Liggetts in my hometown growing up. This is "from an old New England recipe." So, spoiler-alert: this will be my stocking stuffer of choice this year.
This discovery also came serendipitously at the same time I was already reminiscing about my Yankee childhood. Rich and I are planning a trip to New England for our 33rd anniversary, so I am busy putting together a list of (33) places for us to visit.

(*Old New England saw)

Yes, I had a yard sale yesterday. I don't like to do yardsales, and I only made $15 on my "stuff," but there was a Higher Purpose to the sale, and on that count, it was a huge success. I was following a prompting of synchronistic proportions. I have a friend who has a Very Hard Life. I check on her periodically and do what I can to help out. Last Tuesday I phoned her and discovered she is moving out of her apartment and moving into a trailer to share with a friend, as she can't afford to live alone and pay the rent. She needed to get rid of tons of stuff that now won't fit in the one bedroom she will be alloted in the trailer. We're talking couches, tables, boxes of "stuff." The catch--her landlord doesn't allow yardsales where she lives. The Synchronicity? My community was holding its semi-annual yardsale in 4 days, and I would just make the deadline to register for it if I did so that very day. So I did. And I got another friend to come with his truck and haul her stuff to my place on Saturday. The heavens smiled in more ways than one, as we enjoyed a beautiful day of sunshine, good conversation with each other and the garage-salers who stopped by. She sold the bulk of her stuff, made $100+ in the bargain, and knows I really care about her. So, yea, I could have been doing tons of other things yesterday, but I followed the synchronicity to its successful conclusion.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fasting or Starving?

I've discovered an interesting phenomenon. If I go more than 4 hours without eating, my stomach growls and I can only think about what and when I can eat next. But if I am fasting, and I am prayerful about it, I can go all day without thinking of food or feeling hungry at all.
I know this is just a side benefit but it helps to reinforce in my mind that there is a difference between fasting with a purpose and just going without food for a period of time.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Say, what??

Maybe he thought it was April 1st...I got a strange email from our facilities guy today. I had asked for Tall Kitchen Garbage bags, as the ones the custodians have been using in our kitchen are the HUGE heavy-duty "lawn & leaf" ones and it is wasteful. The bags fill up the container such that there is no room for the trash! I told him we also have the small bags, for the containers in the public area of the library, but we really could use an in-between/medium size for the kitchen.
He wrote back, "No problem, I will take care of it. I will bring you a bigger trash can, or can cut the current trash can down a size to fit the little bags..." umm..let's try this again...

Mathematical law of reverse weights and measures

So, I've already admitted that math/numbers is not my forte, but this just baffles me: I fought the battle of the bulge since last September when I got serious about nutrition in an effort to lower my cholesterol. The Formula goes like this: there are 3,500 calories in a pound. My goal was to have a negative Energy Balance of 500 calories a day, resulting in a weight loss of 1 pound/week. (energy Balance is the number of calories consumed minus the number of calories expended.)  I managed, through cutting out (and I mean really cutting out) desserts/sugar, ramping up the fruits/veggies, and burning over 500 calories/day in rigorous exercise, to lose 14 pounds in 7 months (more math: that's 2 pounds/month or a reasonable, if less spectacular 1/2 pound a week). Then yesterday, I decided to eat a cookie....(ok, maybe 5 cookies...but I'd been deprived for so long and these were sooo good!) guessed it! Gained almost 2 pounds in one day!! And the Universe laughed. By the way, if anyone is interested in that cookie recipe, I'll share the love.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not So Lost

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old.
The contest was titled "u @ 50", by the AARP
This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the
room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.
So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pondering the Mysteries

I have some questions:

1. If I'm on my way to a follow-up Dr. appointment (read, I've been there before...) and suddenly I can't remember where the doctor's office is I having a Senior Moment, or can I blame it on the fact that I was on the cell phone with Vanessa and was distracted?

2. I ran into Walmart to pick up a black slip on my lunch break (I was having serious static cling) and grabbed the first (and only) black slip I saw and ran out (after paying, of course...). It was labeled an XL and it fit, very snugly in fact. My question is, are they not sizing things the way they used to, or was I in the children's department by mistake? (I refuse to consider the 3rd option...)

3. The guy (ahem: "geezer") next to me on the treadmill the other day got on before the stats for the previous person were reset. He "worked out" at 2 mph for about 15 minutes, continually checking the readouts with a puzzled look on his face. When he finished, he stared at the "workout summary" for a bit before shaking his head and stepping down. Question: should I have explained the phenomenon to him or is it better to remain in blissful ignorance of one's ignorance? Is that what I have to look forward to when my Senior Moments are more like Senior Way of Life?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

Sometimes there are two things that you think might be related but you're not sure...There's several (8) piles of what looks like rolled oats dumped about 3 feet apart at the wooded edge of our parking lot. There's also a bunch of squirrels that are behaving very oddly on the nearby grass...

Are the oats poisoned? Did the squirrels eat it? Or do the squirrels just have "spring fever" on this unusually sunny day in Washington? And what, then, is the purpose of the oat piles?

I checked with the City and they have no knowledge of it. Checked with the group of teens that were busy videoing the squirrels with their cell phones and they didn't know anything about the oats. Hmmm. Quite the mystery. But I do know this: anytime squirrels are involved, you have got to be suspicious.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


 Happy Square Root Day! Happens only nine times each century, the next one being 4-4-2016. Celebrations are happening all over the world. A teacher in California is offering a prize (you guessed it: $339) to the biggest celebration. Today should be especially lucky for Rich, who has a special relationship with the number 3. What is our fascination with numbers? There's pi day coming up (3:14), and many weddings are held on special number days like 8-8-08; and then there is the phenomenon that happened to us in 2004: I (born in 1955) turned 49 and my husband (born in 1949) turned 55. Once in a lifetime! And what a year it was: we had a family reunion on the beach in California (no small feat, being as we all came from NY, ID, CO), became empty-nesters pre-maturely when Vanessa left us to spend her senior year in Rexburg, I finished my graduate degree and we decided to sell our home and move West. Anyway, do something fun today to honor square roots--like have a SQUARE meal of just ROOT vegetables...(hmmm. I just noticed that this is my 39th post...)

Friday, February 27, 2009

nuggets of gold among the fluff of life

The "coincidences" are coming fast & furious lately. Here's a sampling:

* We wanted to change/add something to our meeting room policy, to be able to re-book the room in a reasonable time in the event of a "no-show." I ask one of the librarians to type up the revised form so I could send it on to the City for approval. When he finished, he noted that we revised it exactly 9 years to the day when the document was originally created (February 25, 2000 right there on the bottom--I hadn't even noticed!)

*Was talking to the EQ Pres. today, and he said he went hometeaching last night to an inactive family. His companion was our High Counselor rep, and they had a great visit with this family whom we haven't seen in months. Turns out during the visit they discovered that the family will be moving next month into Yelm Ward boundaries, the very ward the High Counselor is in! Will make for a smooth transition and hopefully, changed attitudes.

*I just figured out how to access something on my computer that I was having difficulty with, and talking to the Circ Supervisor about it, discovered she had wanted to do the very same thing and didn't know how to do it.

*I was going out to get a gift card to give to someone but wasn't sure what kind to get--what one she would appreciate and use the most. I had two places in mind, and then happened to speak to the person about something unrelated and she mentioned one of the places I was considering. Decision made!

Some silly, some fun, some potentially life-changing, but all bring a certain spice to the day!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lessons from the Bonsai

A gentleman came into the library yesterday with a self-published book he wanted to donate to the library. As I was looking through it today in preparation for sending him a thank-you note, I was struck by its wisdom and beauty. One particular section was especially poignant to me, as it reflected the circumstance I find myself in at this time. It was titled, "Sometimes You Need to be Repotted." I am facing "repotting" this Sunday as I will be released from my 3-year calling as Relief Society President. I know it is the right time for a change, but I can't help but indulge in a bit of "did I do all I could?" and reflect on my stewardship. This book was a little message to me that 'repotting' ensures growth, health and vitality, both for me and the Relief Society I served. I need to accept where I am planted and then give my all to be the best I can, then I can be confident that my efforts are acceptable. Onward!

Let them eat cake

So, we got rid of all the vending machines at the library about 2 weeks ago. Dealing with refunds for vending glitches were high on the list of staff pet peeves, which tipped the scales in their demise. This morning I came in to find this report from the Person-In-Charge last night:

Imagine my surprise when a teen approached me Wednesday evening to inform me that "The drink machine ate my $1.50".

In response, I blinked a few times, stared blankly at him, and asked, "Which machine ate your money?"

Now here's the best part: he led me to the entrance, glanced around confused, and promptly turned beet red.

I managed to get him to explain that a friend put him up to it, telling him that he'd get a free $1.50. As dishonest and mischievious as this was, I think his absolute embarassment in front of all the people coming in and out was punishment enough.
It's a telestial world out there. Is it any wonder that kids without the gospel in their lives have their hands out to get something for nothing, when there are so many examples of dishonesty and greed all around us? But then I have hope for the world when I hear stories of how my daughters are raising their children in truth and righteousness (from SimplySiemers blog):
"I called to Paige. She came in and looked like she had been eating something. Asking her what was in her mouth, she said, "Nuthin." "What are you eating?" "Nothing." "Open your mouth." "No." Then she started to walk away. "Where are you going? What are you doing?" "I lick my fingers." "You are not in trouble, I just want to know what you are eating. It is okay. You just need to be honest and tell me the truth." I followed her into my room and saw the dishes on the floor by Jason's side of the bed, including a paper plate containing a giant uneaten piece of birthday cake I had brought him from work last night. Knowing instantly what she had been eating, and seeing the finger line through the frosting, I asked her if she had eaten some cake. "I want eat the cake." I told her she was not in trouble, that she could have one bite (it was too tempting to leave it out like that and too mean to tease her with it there) but then she had to eat breakfast. I then reiterated the need for her to tell the truth. We then practiced back and forth that when I say, "What are you eating," she says, "Cake."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I do believe in fairies, I do, I do!

There is nothing like Disneyland with a 5-year-old! There is a fine line though, between assuring her that the pirates and wicked witches aren't real ("They are dolls, right Gramma?") and wanting to preserve the magic of it all ("You got hugs from Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and Minnie Mouse today!!") We took the Riverboat Cruise and, upon passing the Indian Village, she asked why the Indian had animal skins on his head. I told her that the Indians believed animals' spirits influenced their world. Renee said, "I believe in everything!"  Which is why, in spite of a letter from the princesses saying the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion weren't real, and my constant chant in Pirates that it was all make-believe,  she still was mad at me for taking her into the Haunted Mansion and on the Pirates of the Caribbean.  Hopefully, all is forgiven with the many other happy memories compensating for the scary ones.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Word Power

Reading the D&C, I've been pondering that words (God's, anyway but I think ours too sometimes) can be "quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword."  Words can hurt, incite, heal, nurture, and enlighten. Some powerful words:

"God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in this grove." (Sign outside of Sacred Grove, Palmyra NY)

Hearing the story of Joseph's experience changed my life 38 years ago.  Rich and I plan to go on a mission after we retire--I look forward to bringing the words of the restoration to others, but for now, I try to be sure my words don't injure, but uplift. 

Like Sami's recent post, I think it's important to be proactive in building relationships. Let a teacher know you enjoyed her lesson; thank your family member for doing the dishes (even if it is "his turn"); say "I'm sorry" even if it isn't all your fault. And say, "I love you" sincerely and often.  Life is short --live with no regrets. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thinking out loud

If you haven't noticed, I seem to have "blogger's block," unable to find anything "synchronistic" to write about lately. So today I just have some random thoughts to get the juices flowing again...

* I know I am somewhat math-challenged, but I really messed up this week and had to "repent." I got on the bandwagon and went to Top Foods to buy the tuna on sale for 50 cents a can. I loaded up my cart with 24 cans (3 stacks of 8 cans, right??), breezed through the check out by giving the girl one can and telling her I had 24 total. Got home and unloaded...32 cans. Maaan! How did I get that wrong?? I went back the next day with 8 cans in my shopping bag and went through the checkout to buy the extras.

* I love Elizabeth Bennet! I have to (get to) read Pride and Prejudice again for a library program and am thoroughly enjoying Lizzie's spirit. "There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me." She knows who she is and likes herself. She doesn't try to be something she is not. She speaks her mind, yet is willing to change her mind when she discovers she has been wrong. Thank you, Miss Austen, for such a wonderful character to learn from!

* Irony #1: At my annual employee evaluation meeting my supervisor complimented me on how I "champion" the teens even in the face of criticism by some patrons, and stand by them and serve them with enthusiasm. This, after I had just determined and announced to my staff that we were going to crack down on bad teen behaviour: we "trespassed" two teens for foul language and loud, obnoxious behavior and stepped up the lookout for extreme PDAs (Public Displays of Affection).

*Irony #2: Yesterday afternoon I told several people I was finished with sign-waving for the Levy Lid Lift. I explained my rationale that those who haven't yet voted probably needed more information, not just more "rah! rah! Libraries" signage. I felt like we were preaching to the choir out there, getting all those honks and thumbs up from people who, I'm sure, have already voted. Never say never...I didn't realize Rich had committed us to one more stint--this morning at Yelm Hwy and College we greeted the commuters with our placards once again.

* I'm a Sentimental Fool. I know it. I get emotional at the silliest things. This morning it was the song, "The Night Chicago Died," by Paper Lace, on my Iphone while sign-waving. I put myself into the storyline, and felt that woman's worry and then joy when her husband walked through the door. A trivial example of how music can move us, I know, but powerful just the same.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Make It So

My husband calls me a POA (Person of Action). Actually it is a family trait that all the girls have (my mom, sister and all three of my daughters). The way I look at it, sometimes you have to make your own synchronicities...
I was in ward welfare meeting listening to talk of how one family had a need, another family had the solution, but nothing was being done to get the two together. ("not going to hold their hand..." ??). I picked up the sister with her carpet cleaner, drove to the home of the sister with the carpet needing cleaning and got them together. Then we realized she also needed a vacuum cleaner first...An email to the Relief Society hotline revealed not one but FOUR vacuum cleaners that could be given away. I made it so. There is great satisfaction in being a connector. Almost as cool as if the first sister had thought, "I need a carpet cleaner" and the second sister suddenly just showed up on her door asking, "Could you use this??"
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