Saturday, December 31, 2011


Except for one day when blogger was down and I had to post two entries the next day, I met the goal I set for 2011! It seems fitting to announce a new writing goal on my last day, especially because the discipline of daily writing has been truly valuable for me.

My inspiration for the new project comes from a trip two friends and I took to San Francisco about five years ago to see an exhibition of quilts made by the women of Gees Bend, Alabama. This collection of images from the exhibition hangs in my home office to remind me of that adventure.

Many of the women who made the quilts spent the better part of the day working in the cotton fields, and while they worked they'd dream about how they'd piece together the scraps of fabrics they had waiting for them at home. They didn't follow patterns. They followed their own imaginations.

One woman told the story of how one day she decided to follow a traditional pattern. Following that pattern, she said, sucked the joy of quilting right out of her. It took her years to recover her own quilting "voice" again after that.

When I heard her tell the story, I understood deep down in my soul exactly what she meant. Whenever I try to follow a pattern of life thought up by someone else, it sucks the joy of living right out of me. At first subconsciously, but gradually more consciously, I've stopped trying to follow many of those patterns. As a result, I've got a life full of bits and scraps of experiences that aren't measured carefully or cut evenly, and don't fit into prescribed patterns.

Each day in 2012 (with some exciting exceptions that may involve actually leaving the continent), I plan to stitch together small colorful fragments of memories here on my blog and watch the patterns of my own imagination emerge.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch

Sadly, the last of five items on my Utah Valley Magazine list, Nellie's Diner on University Ave. in Provo, failed to open in time for me to try it this year. Apparently they've been trying to open since this time last year. I may or may not save the coupon I clipped from the magazine for a free cinnamon roll. Oh well.

But happily, my friend Jackie, a dear neighbor who is celebrating her 88th birthday tomorrow, came to my rescue and invited me along with a group of ladies (I was by far the youngest) to the Riverside Country Club for lunch today. They've got a beautiful new club house there, and we enjoyed views of the golf course which was surprisingly busy on this warm December day.

Thank you for a delicious lunch and a wonderful afternoon, Jackie. Happy birthday!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Picas and Pixels

This winter solstice bookmark is the very first thing I scanned on the new scanner I got for Christmas and finally opened up today.

We've been scanner impaired for a very long time, and I decided that I need a scanner for the new blogging project I've thought up for 2012. (I'm saving the details for the last posting of 2011.)

The bookmark was designed by Sally Gardner, one of my very favorite friends from college (we go all the way back to freshman year in the dorms). Her sister Joanna, whom I am also pleased to call a friend, wrote the lovely poem.

Sally and Joanna printed up the bookmarks on Sal's very own letterpress in her very own printshop in upstate New York.

You can bet that I'm dreaming up a project we can do there one day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Aunt Margie

Today we drove to Manti, Utah, to celebrate the life of Roger's Aunt Margie, his mom's oldest sister in a family full of girls. Of all of Roger's aunts, she is the one I knew best.

Aunt Margie loved her sisters, loved Uncle Don, loved her children, loved her small town, and loved God. All of that love always spilled over onto us whenever we stopped by to visit.

It was impossible not to love her back.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Downtown Rising

Checked the fourth item off of the last stretch list I compiled last month from Utah Valley Magazine by having lunch at the Blue Lemon.

Except that we actually ate at the Blue Lemon in Salt Lake, not Utah Valley. Oh, well.

Roger and I wanted to go see the progress on the house renovation his sister and her husband were enduring (extending the foundation under an add on back porch, gutting the kitchen, etc.). They live in the Avenues in Salt Lake City, and so we turned it into fun downtown outing with their family.

Lunch was fresh and fabulous. I will definitely be going back. I especially liked the sign that listed which local farm grew which vegetables the restaurant purchased. And because we were right downtown, we walked off a bit of our meal as we explored the new City Creek development, which is very near completion.

I feel like I had a tiny vacation. I love it when that happens!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Battle of the Deadly Sins

Sloth Loses

I was planning to write about hanging out all day in the new pajamas I got for Christmas. I made it until early evening. Then I got restless.

Gluttony Wins

Jack was at a friend's house, but Roger was accommodating. He'd been telling me about the tasty onion rings he discovered at--of all places!--the hospital cafeteria.

So, we went there. And had fries with them.

They were very, very tasty. And we washed them down with soda we got from the magical fountain. I tried a mixture of orange and vanilla Diet Coke. Mmmm.

The hospital isn't working on building its future customer base, is it?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Adventures Await

Behold my favorite surprise under the tree: a handmade basket for my bicycle!

Deliveries to neighbors, picnics up the canyon, fresh corn and tomatoes from the farm stand, library books. The possibilities are endless! (At least as soon as the weather warms up . . .)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Light in the Dark

We hosted the family Christmas Eve party tonight, but broke with tradition when it ended. Usually we get into pajamas when everyone leaves and settle in to take care of last minute preparations for Christmas morning. But tonight we piled in the car and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house to wish them a happy Christmas Eve. They weren't able to come to the party.

On the way we drove by the cemetery in south Provo and noticed lots of cars and people there. What were they doing? They were lighting graveside lumières. The cemetery was full of them! I'm sure this has been a tradition for years, but since we're never out and about on Christmas Eve, we'd never seen it.

What a beautiful way to remember loved ones on a cold, dark night that marks the beginning of the season of light. Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Good Vibrations

We had a wonderful evening stopping by to visit friends to wish them a happy Christmas. At one home, Jack discovered a corner filled with intriguing musical instruments that our friends had collected over the years from their world travels.

One of the instruments was a Tibetan singing bowl, which I'd never heard of before. It vibrated with incredible sound as we held it in our hands and played it.

I found this endearing instruction video when I got home.

And then I found this. Awesome!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So You Want To Read

From "The Latest at the Library" section of today's Springville Independent News:

It's been a long time since I posted this teaser about a new Springville library lecture series I've been working on. We'll be going on a grand adventure as we explore authors, genres and specific books.

A fun grand adventure. Which is why I've invited the amazing and clever writers Louise Plummer and Ann Cannon to kick off the series with a tag team presentation about books they've read over the years that have stretched them in unexpected ways. Expect to be enlightened and enlivened!

2012 presentations will include gems like So You Want to Read Shakespeare, So You Want to Read C.S. Lewis, So You Want to Read Poetry and So You Want to Read Moby Dick.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sounds Painful

Most of my day revolved around the jail, trying to get on top of things before we head into the holidays. I never, ever know what I might end up researching on any given day to help an inmate out. Today I learned about tattoo removal options in Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Other Side

Opened up the new wrapping paper we picked up at Costco a couple of weeks ago and discovered that it's double sided. So nifty! (Though who'd want to hide those adorable penguins away on the inside?)

Five days before Christmas and except for two gifts for Roger that will be arriving shortly, I'm completely caught up on my wrapping! That actually sounds more impressive than it is. Roger has most of Jack's presents stashed away in some secret location, and I can't risk snooping even if I'm trying to be helpful. You know, it's that time of year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gray Cat

The other day Jack asked if we could get another cat because, you see, we are allowed to have three cats here in Springville and we only have two.

Tonight we dragged Jack to a grownup activity, an art show put together by a friend. As usual there were consequences for our actions.

Jack fell in love with a piece, and I fell in love with the idea of Jack having an original piece of artwork. And so "The Gray Cat" by artist Rebecca Wagstaff (pictured here with Jack) is now the newest resident in our home.

This means we've met the cat limit, right?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scratch That Itch

I don't know why I don't indulge in books that scratch my travel itch more often. Maybe because scratching makes an itch worse? And I am SO itching for a far flung adventure!

Jack and I have been reading Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. While we read I scheme about how we can go around the world. Then Roger brought home a beautiful photography book called The Tropical Modern House from the library. I spent a bit of time reveling in it this evening.

Can you imagine waking up in the morning to this view? Ahhhh. Yeah. Right there.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jiggety Jig

We went to a white elephant party tonight and brought home a white pig.

Jack has never owned a piggy bank before, which may constitute a severe lapse in parenting. It may be too late to make much of a difference, but I still feel better now.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gurus (with and without an Apostrophe)

I'm making a bit of a stretch today because I want to write about something that brought me joy but wasn't a exactly a new experience. It's just been too long since I had lunch with my wise and wonderful friends Linda and Lisa.

I am blessed to know many wise and wonderful people, and Linda and Lisa are among my favorite. Hanging out with them is very good for my soul.

But I can make a small homage to the spirit of my 2011 blogging project: Even though we met up at our usual place (Guru's in Provo), I didn't order my usual (Asian chicken salad). It was far too wintry a day, so I tried the Thai peanut pasta instead. I think that was good for my soul, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


We are working on getting Jack in a better habit of studying for tests in school. Tomorrow he has a science test on taxonomy, and I quizzed him from the study guide he brought home.

I suggested he come up with a mnemonic to remember domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.

Dumb kids play carelessly on fine grain sand.

I might actually remember the order now myself! (But please don't quiz me. Thank you.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We Will, We Will Rock You

The event we've been waiting months for finally arrived. Jack's first band concert went very well. I can't believe these kids have only been playing since the beginning of the school year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Slop Your Dripper

Tonight Roger and I went to our first Utah County employee Christmas party. Ironically, it was held at the events center at UVU, my other employer. After dinner, we got to attend the Bar J Wranglers concert.

During the summer, they play every night at the Bar J Chuckwagon Western Music Show in Jackson Hole and during the winter they tour. I went to the Bar J Chuckwagon once 30 years ago, but it's a distant memory.

I'll tell you they are Entertaining. Yes, with a capital E. Fiddling, harmony, and standup comedy.

At one point one of them dressed up like his granny and told the story of Cinderella, but he mixed up all of the cows and then ate them backstage O.o

[Jack just hijacked my blog post. I'm back now.]

So he told the story of Cinderella, but he mixed up the first sounds of the words. For example, she went to the bancy fall and met the prandsome hince. Let's just say it got a little awkward when he reached the point in the story where the shoe fit.

Monday, December 12, 2011

That Is If Sentimental Jack Will Let Us

Today was one of those jam-packed days. All of a sudden I'm on my way home from my last evening class of the semester, and I realize I haven't a clue what I'm going to blog about. I also realize that I need to stop for gas.

While I'm filling the tank, I start paying attention to the video screen on the pump, which is advertising specials at the business that owns the gas station. And then I realize that they've set it up so we can actually print coupons at the pump. Brilliant!

We may abandon our traditional Christmas tree lot to get $10.00 off this year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bells Are Ringing

Checked off the third item on my Utah Valley Magazine list when Jack and I headed down to the art museum this afternoon to hear the Utah Valley Handbell Ringers play some Christmas music. A perfect way to enjoy the holidays!

Click here to listen to one of the carols we enjoyed today.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Our internet connection is down. Roger lent me his iPhone to write this. They can't stop me! But they can slow me down. I'm typing this with one finger.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Checking the List

Checked item #2 off the list I made from Utah Valley Magazine last month. While I was out running errands, I stopped by Cherry Lane Boutique in the old women's gym on University Avenue to check it out.

It was definitely boutique-y, and it turned out I wasn't really in a boutique-y shoppy mood.

But I did pick up local singer/songwriter Mindy Gledhill's new Christmas CD called Winter Moon, opened it up on the spot, and listened to it all the way home.

'Tis the season!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Queue

In addition to teaching transitional skills classes at the jail, I meet one-on-one with inmates at their request to go over their immediate and longer-term plans when they're released.

Depending on their situation, we may spend most of the time talking about how they can meet basic needs like food and shelter or we may spend most of the time talking about how to apply to college and what they can expect when they get there.

I ask them questions and I listen. I look them in the eyes and I see them, I hear them. And then I find specific answers for them. How to get a birth certificate from Nebraska. The address and phone number for a particular drug rehab program in southern Utah. The requirements for a degree in illustration. Anything I can do to help them hit the ground running and deal with obstacles in their path.

Sometimes I am hopeful for them. Sometimes I'm not too hopeful, but I find ways to give them honest encouragement.

Today I conducted my 50th one-on-one. I also got completely caught up on my request queue for the very first time since I started. Before I left for the afternoon, I checked the computer and discovered two more requests.

I'm glad. I'd rather not be caught up for very long. I really like what I do.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sinte Fugler

Once again I reveal how far behind the times I am. Jack taught me how to play Angry Birds tonight (not that it requires much skill). In my defense, we've only had an iPhone in the house for about a month (and the iPhone is not actually mine).

Here is a video about Angry Birds for people who may have no idea what I'm talking about (Mom).

PS: To figure out the blog post title, click here and follow the clue. Extra points if you can tell me what language it's written in.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Out of Context

I suppose it was inevitable. Today I ran into someone I know at the jail. He saw me first, and when he called out to me I was disoriented for a moment before I realized who he was.

I also suppose it's just a matter time before I run into someone I've met at the jail out and about around town. I'm guessing I'll be disoriented for a moment as I try to place how I know them.

Monday, December 05, 2011

If A and B, Then C

I picked up my new textbook for my class assignments next semester. I've been teaching English 1010 the last few semesters, but will be teaching English 2010 in January.

I didn't actually request a change, but now that I've got it I realize I need it. It's good to keep things fresh.

And I love the focus of the course on analyzing arguments and constructing effective arguments. Especially the part about making sure conclusions follow logically from the premises.

I think we need logic checks the way we have fact checks. We have a tendency to swallow opinions (interpretations of facts) when they are based on verifiable facts. But we really shouldn't do that when the logic is off.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


At the risk of being presumptuous, I'm going to wish my sister-in-law Carol a happy birthday today with a post about her piece currently on display in the Springville Museum of Art's 26th Annual Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah exhibition, which I enjoyed this afternoon.

Her artist statement reads: "This piece represents the simple joy that religion brings. I am grateful for the "Good News" in my life. I am also grateful to my lovely, joyful neighbor Daphne* who helped inspire this painting."

A couple of years ago, Carol spoke about marking the word "joy" whenever she came across it in her scripture reading, and she paid particular attention to the context in each instance. What an inspired and transformational idea, and perhaps the genesis for this piece.

I hope you've had a joyful birthday today, Carol!


*We love our lovely, joyful neighbor Daphne, too. She's a couple of years younger than Jack and sometimes takes care of our cats when we go out of town. Shortly after we brought them home as kittens we found a set of very carefully written and illustrated instructions for making kitty parachutes out of plastic grocery bags. (We've got a tempting balcony in our two-story entryway.) Turned out to be Daphne's brainchild.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A La Mode

Last night the cake and pie. Tonight the ice cream. Spreading out the goodies we are.

We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa this evening and asked Jack if he'd like a treat afterward. He picked Baskin-Robbins.

Whenever I go to BR, I always order the chocolate chip. Ever since I was Jack's age.

In honor of this blogging project, I decided to order something different. So I picked their seasonal Winter White Chocolate (white chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate covered cherry pieces and cherry ribbon).

Okay, that wasn't a huge stretch. My favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor is Cherry Garcia. And I still got a bite of chocolate chip because that's what Roger ordered.

Hmm. I might hold off on returning the wrong trousers.

Friday, December 02, 2011


Jack went to a friend's house this evening, and Roger and I had a couple of things to drop off to friends around town. So we turned our adventure into a date. Instead of eating out at one of our rut--er, favorite--places, we decided on a lark to go to the Magleby's on Main Street in Springville.

I went to lunch there once with some friends more than a year ago. Roger had never been. Never got around to it. Our loss.

My chicken marsala with garlic mashed potatoes was divine. The slice of chocolate cake that Roger ordered for dessert was so large he boxed more than half of it to take home. And after watching the gentleman at the next table being served some amazing looking apple pie, I had to order a boxed up slice of it to take home for me.

Even though I've changed to my jammy pants with the elastic waistband, I might have to wait until breakfast to eat it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

On a Roll

One of the best things about living in a town with a local paper is seeing your son's name in print under the headline "Springville Jr. High Honor Roll."

Good job earning those first term grades, Jack! You're off to a great start!