Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Coming Together

Tonight I got to collect the illustrations for the Louisa May Alcott show from artist Bethanne Andersen. They are amazing. Full of rich color and texture. Bethanne is such a lovely person, and has been such a privilege to put this exhibition together.

The Illustrated Life of Louisa May Alcott: Works by Bethanne Andersen opens at the Springville Museum of Art on Saturday, September 10. Everyone is invited!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

400 Years

After I met with Maggie, the curator of the Louisa May Alcott collection at BYU, I had the chance to visit her new exhibit at the library: The Life and Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years.

Maggie, Eric the exhibit designer, and their team of students did an impressive job! It's definitely worth seeing the collection of old books that influenced or were influenced by the King James translation. And you can through the spring of 2012!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Good Day

Well, my summer is officially over. I'm back to business. All sorts of projects took me all sorts of directions today.
  • I've got two new classes full of English 1010 students! We got off to a great start, and I think we'll have a good dynamic with both groups.
  • My transition skills program proposal for my work at the jail was approved and I worked on some of the details for that, including doing some research at a local bank. One thing I learned about is a service called check systems that banks use to check up on potential account holders to make sure they don't owe another bank for overdrawn funds.
  • I dropped in to see a key person in the community to discuss the possibility of turning the old city building into a temporary art exhibit before it gets torn down next spring. He was very enthusiastic, and not just because he's an enthusiastic guy. I'm that much closer to being convinced it's an opportunity we shouldn't miss.
  • I set up an appointment with the curator of the Alcott collection at BYU to finalize the items they will lend us for our Alcott show at the Springville Museum of Art which opens September 10.
  • I did four loads of laundry. The last load is still sitting in the dryer, so I guess it's not technically done. I still need to fold it all and put it away. But I'm too worn out.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Jack spent a good part of the day rebuilding one of his Lego ocean liners. It's his own design, and he calls it the Ocean Born. I wonder if he will rename it the Ocean Reborn.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't Try This If You're in a Rush

We picked up Jack's friend Gracie, who used to live across the street, but now lives across the valley, and headed here to pick up supplies.

Then we headed up American Fork Canyon past Tibble Fork Reservoir to do this.

It was a first for us. We weren't exactly sure what we were looking for, but we're pretty sure we saw some tiny flecks of gold. Roger tried to put them in a vial to bring home. We're not sure they made it in.

Too bad we didn't have enough cash on us (the prospector supply store didn't take credit cards, which I suppose isn't a real surprise), or we'd have picked up the tweezers with the attached magnifying glass.

Friday, August 26, 2011


This afternoon I met an old college friend I haven't seen in at least 20 years in downtown Provo for lunch. As we walked back to our cars, we passed the old county court house on University Avenue, and my friend noticed that there were vegetables, including huge squash plants, growing among the flowers in the court house gardens. I'm very curious to know the story behind them, and I hope the fresh food they produce feed souls as well as bellies.

I so enjoyed catching up with my old friend, reaping the seeds of friendship we sowed all those years ago. And I'm thankful that we watered our friendship from time to time with Christmas cards and email messages.

This evening I got a call from a new friend--an 80-something neighbor I've known for only a year or two. She needed some help getting gas for her car. When we got back to her house, she asked me to help her carry in an enormous melon she'd bought from a roadside stand earlier today. She sent me home with some beautiful tomatoes from her garden.

My soul is well fed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, DC has been all over the news this week. I was thinking about his legacy as Jack and I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird tonight. I wondered what he would say about the increasing marginalization and vilification of the poor and the "other" we've seen over these past years of recession and war. I believe he'd want us to rise above our fears. I believe he'd inspire us to cry out against it.

This one is for you, Dr. King.

On the last page of the book, Scout is telling Atticus the story of the Gray Ghost, who had apparently been wreaking havoc all over town.

"An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice . . ."

His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.

"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today was extraordinarily uneventful. I was a bit under the weather, so I just laid low and got some work done on my computer and did some reading.

And so I turned to Google to help me find something new. I found this site: LSNED (Learn Something New Every Day). I scrolled down until I found this post, in which I learned:

In tennis scoring, love means zero. This is believed to come from the French word l’oeuf, for egg. The egg shape signifies a round zero, just as they say “goose-egg” in American baseball."

Who knew? Or should I say qui savait?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Consuming

Went downtown to Mountain Rock Music on Main Street this afternoon to pick up a copy of the the instruction book Jack needs for band this year. What an awesome place! I'd never been in before. Now I'm cooking up reasons to go back. I'm a big fan of cool shops on Main Streets.

Monday, August 22, 2011


One of our family traditions is to take Jack out to dinner on the first official day of school, his choice of restaurants. He's a bit of a creature of habit, so he decided we'd go to Panda Express, which is an old standby.

I was happy to discover they had a new dish, one chock full of vegetables.

Jack prefers his meals without any vegetables.

Speaking of eating vegetables, Jack was thrilled with his very first trip to buy school supplies. See?

Elementary schools are apparently restricted by Utah state law from requiring students to purchase things, and through the years Jack's teachers never specified any supplies he could voluntarily bring. So we never bought anything (though we did donate office supply gift cards to the school from time to time).

But now that he's in junior high, we get to outfit him. And I'm such a geek, I couldn't wait to get home and organize his binders and supplies the way his teachers want them organized. (As a nod to sound parenting, I did try to involve him as much as he could stand it.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Okay, I confess. Every once in a while I get sucked into a reality show. Today I got sucked into an Undercover Boss marathon. CEOs go undercover as entry-level employees at their own companies and learn all sorts of interesting things. Lots of heart warming stories about hardworking people and some valuable revelations for people at the top.

A surprisingly life-affirming way to enjoy a little downtime before heading into a busy, busy week. (And the business junkie in me enjoyed a little fix.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011


Jack got up early and went to junior high for the first time this morning. The lucky seventh graders started a day before everyone else to help them get their bearings before the eighth and ninth graders fill up the hallways.

When he was done, I picked him up and we ran some errands, including meeting Roger for a late lunch at Iggy's Sports Grill. We've never eaten there before because it's always been jam packed whenever we think of it. It's not packed at 2:30 in the afternoon. The food was just okay (I did like that you can substitute a veggie burger for any hamburger), but it was fun watching part of a Little League World Series game on the huge screen! I felt bad, though, for the pitcher who got hit with the ball because they kept showing the replay over and over and over. So let me share it with you here.

Actually, it's sort of artistic the way his arm and glove are the last bits to drop out of the shot. He was okay. Luckily the bill of his hat took the brunt of it.

Last but not least, and in a deliberate attempt to hold onto summer even though school has started, Jack and I headed for the Spanish Oaks Reservoir where his fished for the first time (no luck) and played in the sand for the umpteenth time.

Invigorated by a refreshing swim, we drove home with the sun low in the sky, enjoying a perfect breeze in our topless Jeep. Lucky us.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Peace of Mind

We met all of Jack's teachers at the back-to-school open house this afternoon, and so far I'm impressed. Actually, very impressed. They were all sharp, enthusiastic, and personable.

My mind is at ease for the time being (as long as they know the Es are backwards on the school marquis).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Or Not

Disclaimer: I don't want this post to discourage anyone from donating blood. It really wasn't a horrible or painful experience. It was just sad that I couldn't follow through on my donation.

And, so, the story is that I went to give blood and the needle didn't go in quite right. After a minute or so, the blood stopped filling the bag and started leaking out inside my arm. Several people came to help, and when they saw my arm, they each said, "Oh. OH!"

They gave me ice packs. I don't think the bruising will be too bad.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Enterprise

Technically, today's trip to the new Western Metals Recycling facility in Provo's East Bay was our second, but since this is a post about recycling that somehow seems okay.

A couple of years ago, I offered Jack the income from our aluminum can recycling if he did all the work of taking full bags out to the garage, loading them in the car, going with me to drop them off, etc. Today's price was 65 cents per pound. Nice.

It is so much easier to take our cans to the new place. We can now also drop off paper and plastics there (though I still take our paper to the bin at Jack's elementary school--I understand it gets a teeny bit of money from that). Western Metals even collects donations for the Community Action Services food pantry.

I know our town implemented curbside recycling a few years ago so it seems a little nutty to put so much effort in. And if I ever hear that program is in danger of falling apart due to lack of participation, I will support it by signing up.

But in the meantime, I like supporting Jack's little enterprise.

Monday, August 15, 2011

So Civilized

More treats from friends! Shelley, Trevor, and their three adorable girls stopped by with a loaf of rustic homemade bread and wedge of brie. Such a fun visit and such a lovely addition to our evening meal!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Will They Ever Come to Utah?

Our neighbors went on a trip and brought back some Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups for us while Jack and I were away. Roger saved some for me, and I just tried them. Mmmmm.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I often think about using my blender to make tasty treats, and then I don't because it's just enough of a pain to pull it out, clean and reassemble it, and put it away again.

About a month ago, my friend Mindy raved about her new Cuisinart Smart Stick Blender. Simple to use and easy cleanup. She totally sold me, and I ordered one straightaway. Tonight I christened it.

I was very smart to trust Mindy.

PS: While we were at the grocery store picking up some groceries, including fresh strawberries for the smoothie, we ran into our friend Shannon. She told us a story about the time she was biking on the canyon trail and nearly hit a squirrel when it ran out in front of her. She screamed, and she swears the squirrel screamed, too. The squirrel actually screamed. Her husband was laughing so hard, he had to stop riding!

Friday, August 12, 2011


A full day with a family funeral this afternoon and a neighbor's wedding reception this evening.

Roger's Aunt Susan passed away earlier this week. One of the beliefs Mormons hold most dear is that family relationships continue after death. It's nice to think that Susan could be with her husband Gary, who passed away last summer.

Amy and Brandon united. Susan and Gary reunited.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Always Wear a Helmet

In all the years I've enjoyed the Hobble Creek Canyon bike path, I've never actually biked it. Until today. I even made a point of tackling the big hill after crossing the road at the golf course. I tried taking a picture of it from the top, but it doesn't look as steep as it really is.

There are a few obvious differences between running or walking the path and biking it. On a bike I covered more ground in less time, it was much harder going up hills, and it was much easier coming down them.

What surprised me, though, was how often I was whacked in the head by giant dragonflies. That never happens when I'm on foot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I'm trying to cling to summer for as long as I can, but school is looming large.

After registering Jack for school yesterday, I headed up to Utah Valley University to pick up the books we're using this semester for English 1010: a new edition of the primary text and an updated handbook.

I did a quick review of them today, and I don't think I'll have to adjust my syllabus too much. Just a little extra work before the semester begins. I hope.

I'm happy to see the revised text still includes one of my favorite quotes from a professor of business management about how students need to learn how to "wallow in complexity" and then figure out how to work their way out.

We are expected to focus on helping students develop critical thinking skills in our freshman composition classes. I love that. It may just help them save the world someday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Oh, man. Jack is starting Jr. High in less than two weeks. Even though we got the smallest size available, he's going to swim in the new gym clothes we picked up at registration today. I'm not ready for him to be this old. Can't we wait until he's big enough to fill out his uniform?

Monday, August 08, 2011


Monday morning after getting home from vacation meant getting back into daily math practice for Jack. I expected some serious push back, but there was none. Zip. Zero.

Instead, Jack said he'd been thinking about a story I told him a long time ago about how I went through this weird period in college when I was suddenly afraid of flying. Then one day I was on a plane, feeling nervous, and I realized that if the plane was going to go down it was going to go down, and my feeling nervous wasn't going to stop it. From that moment on, I've been fearless on planes.

Jack took my story and applied it to fighting against the math assignments. "I'm going to have to do it anyway whether I complain or not, so I might as well just do it."

Smart kid. I'm impressed with how often he takes something he's learned in one context and applies it to another.

Just last week, for example, I unexpectedly lost my temper. It had nothing to do with Jack, but I saw the look on his face as I railed against something I've been frustrated about. A couple of hours later he was helping me carry some things to the trash bin at the end of the driveway, and I apologized to him for my behavior and tried to explain that I wasn't nuts.

"I know, Mom. I figure you just had a Jem moment."

"A what?"

"You know, when Jem is so mad at people saying bad things about his dad that he lops the tops off that lady's flowers with Scout's baton." We've been reading To Kill a Mockingbird together this summer.

Exactly, Jack. Exactly.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Now that I'm back in town, I'm getting up to date on all sorts of things I've missed around the neighborhood. Lots of life being lived.

Among the stories are these: One neighbor just had her last round of chemotherapy. Two other neighbors had heart problems that landed them in the hospital under very scary circumstances; one has another surgery scheduled next week and the other is hoping a test goes well tomorrow so they can fix the problem and he can avoid ending up on a transplant waiting list.

Roger and I went around the block this evening and ran into all three of them (and their spouses) taking a walk. Lovely to see the convalescents out and about, banding together!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Happy Ending

We really don't go to movies very often! Jack turned 12 in May and tonight was the first time we had to buy him an adult ticket.

The final Harry Potter movie. We wanted to see it all together so we had to wait until after our trip. Loved it. Especially loved grown-up Ron at the end being all sentimental sending his daughter off to Hogwarts.

But another happy ending happened later in the evening. We were back in Springville when Jack realized that his wallet had fallen out of his pocket, probably at the theater. And so we drove back. The manager couldn't have been nicer, luckily the next movie hadn't started yet, and--accio wallet!--Jack found it intact underneath his seat.

Friday, August 05, 2011


We took Jack and his friend Cooper to Marley's at Riverwoods for sliders and fries. After dinner we wandered around a bit. Bought some books at the Borders going out of business sale (mixed feelings) and watched the kids play in the fountain while listening to a couple of college students play horns on the outdoor stage. Sort of an odd choice for live music on a Friday night, but we were entertained!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Home, Home on the Range

After a very nice visit with my aunt and uncle in Boulder, Colorado, this morning, Jack and I headed west on the last leg of our trip and we are now safely home. (Well, I'm safely home. As soon as we unloaded the car, Jack ran off to a friend's house. We're going to go wrangle him in a few minutes).

It was a pretty run-of-the-mill drive home except for horrible construction traffic east of Vail that added an hour to our trip and a tense moment on I-70 just after crossing into Utah in which we came across an antelope in the middle of the highway. There was a car just ahead of us in the other lane, and the antelope zig zagged the center line trying to figure out which way it could go. It finally leapt off the highway by the other car, which had slowed to almost a stop in the shoulder.

Yes, so glad we are safely home. Especially with dear Roger.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Drove from Jefferson City, Missouri, to Denver, Colorado, today with two important stops.

The first stop was unplanned, but I was sucked in by signs on the interstate. I pulled rank as Mom to spend a bit of time at Monroe Elementary, one of the schools involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Somehow it seemed fitting to snap a shot of Jack using the drinking fountain there. A little over half a century ago, that might well have been impossible.

The second was planned. We stopped in Manhattan, Kansas, to take my niece Saralyn out to lunch. She's spending the summer at Kansas State University doing research in a chemistry lab.

I might have gone my entire life without setting foot in Manhattan, Kansas. Thanks for the excuse, Saralyn! We enjoyed seeing you!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


We crammed a ton of stuff in today: Driving about 200 miles. Crossing the Mississippi River three times. Crossing the Missouri River three times (including a round trip walk on a new pedestrian bridge in Jefferson City). Touring the wainwright and blacksmith shops and the Browning gunsmith shop in Nauvoo. Touring Carthage jail. Eating ice cream. Visiting with sister-in-law Joan and some of her family. Visiting with brother-in-law Jim and his wife. Touring the Missouri State Supreme Court building (1908) where Jim works (after hours so it was mostly dark, which was very cool). Touring Mark Twain's childhood home in Hannibal, Missouri. And a riverboat ride!

In temperatures that went as high as this:

That could explain why Jack and I pretty much had the street to ourselves in this web cam screen capture that Roger took of us today (from the comfort of his air conditioned office in Utah).

Monday, August 01, 2011


Frustration (and subsequently my tongue) has gotten me in trouble a couple of times in the last few days. Maybe it's because I've got a wicked blister on my toe or I've been in the sun too much or I haven't gotten enough sleep or I've succumbed to the high humidity here in the midwest. Or maybe I'm simply in need of an emotional growth spurt.

Today I headed into a four-day road trip with Jack, who desperately wishes we could just get on an airplane and be home in a few hours. After a rough go of things this morning, I made a conscious decision to try harder to send good energy out into the world.

Moments later I was pulled over by the police for speeding. (I promise I wasn't being a crazy driver. I was heading out of town a bit faster than the signs said to. Not 100 yards after I passed the officer, my speed matched the signs.)

I handled myself with great aplomb. Only a warning. Maybe I could make a karmic shift.

After a long afternoon of driving and a bit of sightseeing in Nauvoo, Illinois, we headed south to Keokuk, Iowa, to our hotel. The road hugged the shores of the Mississippi River, and we were blessed with this for miles and miles.

Yes, shift, I'm ready.