Wednesday, May 22, 2013


This isn't a good blog writing day: I seem to be coming down with a cold.  I hope it's just a matter of being time to go back on my allergy meds, but my husband and several grandkids are just getting over nasty colds so . . .

Anyway I considered writing about the loss of life and property in Moore, Oklahoma, and how we never know when tragedy might strike.  However all I can think of is the importance of being prepared with 72 hour kits, establish a contact place outside of your area where you can meet up with loved ones or leave messages, and the importance of making sure the people you love know you care about them.  I've been impressed with the courage and bravery so many have shown, I've wiped away tears for reunions and losses, and I've wondered why zoning laws don't require safe rooms in houses and public buildings along tornado alley.  But the fact is, I don't feel like writing at all. 

I'll admit it's unusual for me to not want to write.  This feeling is different from writer's block, a malady that strikes all writers sooner or later for varying lengths of time.  With Writer's block we may want to write, might even be in the middle of a project we want very much to finish, but feel stumped, don't know where to go, sometimes feel overwhelmed, the words just won't come.  But in this case there are thoughts in my head, things I could write about the tornado, about my sadness for the death of President Monson's wife, my disgust for the political scandals that were hid from the public before the election and the extremist views and comments from both the right and left that are only making a bad situation worse, all the cute and funny moments my grandchildren have brought into my life, and the kind action of my daughters who undertook a shopping expedition for me. (I now have a pair of pants that fit and birthday presents for my littlest granddaughter's first birthday!)  I could even write about my therapy experience.  Who would have thought learning to bend and straighten a knee could be so exhausting and painful!   

What I really want to do is crawl in bed.  I had a strenuous workout today so I'll probably run the ice machine on my knee first, then swallow a few pills.  I'll try to do better next time I blog.  Good night all.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

If Wishes were Horses--or something like that!

My mother used to warn me to be careful what I wished for.  When she was a little girl her best friend wished she could get the measles so she wouldn't have to go to school.  Many of the children in their community were going through unplanned vacations from school because of the red spots and she wanted an excuse to skip school too.  The child got her wish and got more than she'd bargained for, a particularly hard case of the measles.  She was painfully ill and eventually died of complications. 

Having been extremely skinny all of my life, I used to wish I could gain a little weight.  Even during the short stretch of my modeling career I got yelled at each time I lost a pound or two. Like my mother's friend, I got more than I bargained for when my metabolism somehow changed and I started piling on pounds.  I soon discovered I hated all those extra pounds and I began wishing I could lose them.  No matter how hard I exercised and dieted the pounds seemed determined to stay.  Little by little the single digit sizes disappeared from my closet to be replaced with ever greater double digits.  Then something happened-- three major surgeries in six months.  The first knee replacement surgery didn't affect my weight much, but the pancreatectomy turned off my weight gaining problem, made me a diabetic, and forced drastic changes in my eating habits. (Not a particular kindness for a chocoholic!) Quite unexpectedly I got my wish and dropped nearly forty pounds in a couple of months.

I'm neither bragging nor complaining, but under the circumstances that much weight loss has created an array of problems.  My clothes don't fit.  I look like a bag lady draped in clothing three sizes too large.  Even my shoes and my underwear are baggy! 

Well meaning friends and family assure me it will be fun to go shopping for a new wardrobe, but that's where my third surgery comes in, another knee replacement.  I can barely walk. Today is the first I ventured downstairs without crutches and nearly strangled the wooden stair rails in the process. I need help getting my shoes on.  I'm not permitted to drive. I need safety pins to keep up my shorts when I have physical therapy. I'm afraid a shopping trip is some distance in the future. 

Another complication that caught me by surprise is the cold.  I'm freezing.  Unlike my friend, Susan, in Hawaii who lost a similar amount of weight the past few months, I have to deal with Utah weather which isn't kind to someone who just lost forty pounds of insulation.  On those recent warm days when my husband turned on the air conditioning, I reached for a sweater or a blanket. 

Even with good insurance my surgeries have taken a big bite out of what I might consider wardrobe replacement funds, but the biggest expenses turned out not to be medical.  The day before my pancreatectomy we discovered a gas leak near our fireplace.  That involved turning off the gas, ripping out the fireplace, installing new lines and valves, then installing a new fireplace.  After my second knee replacement surgery, my husband returned home to discover our garage door was broken and had to be replaced.  Both required hefty financial contributions.
I'm through wishing.  I'll set a few goals now and then, but I'm through thinking the fulfillment of a wish will make everything wonderful.  I should have figured out a long time ago there's a reason The Monkey's Paw has stuck in my head since I first read it as a naive thirteen-year-old.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Congratulations to the Winners

I was sad to miss the Whitney Gala this year.  Thanks goes out to those who tweeted the award ceremony announcements.  Congratulations to all of the winners.  Four of the adult category winners received their awards for books I was able to review for Meridian during the past year and I have to agree they are fantastic choices.  That's The Rent Collector by Camron Wright, My Loving Vigil Keeping by Carla Kelly, Code Word by Traci Hunter Abramson, and Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.  The other adult novel winner was Dan Wells for The Hollow City, which I haven't read. The funny thing is every category included a list of five finalists who could have easily been the winner because they were all exceptional, making picking just one a difficult task.  I'd like to extend my congratulations to them as well.  There were no losers!

I didn't get a chance to read most of the Young Adult and Middle Grade finalists, but here are the winners, The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, and After Hello by Lisa Mangum.

During the convention there were awards given for first chapters too and I'd like to wish all of those winners, including my daughter Janice, speedy publications!  My daughters (there were two of them) attended the convention and sent me regular updates which I appreciated.

One more round of applause is directed toward Heather Moore and all those who assisted in making the Gala a huge success.

I'm looking forward to going to the gala next year!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Greatest Adventure

Once an aspiring newspaper reporter asked me what was the most exciting thing I'd done in my life. To me the answer was a no brainer--being a mother.  I don't think she believed me, but it's the truth. Flying on a refueling mission, scaling the Snake River Canyon wall, donning fire gear and going inside a burning house, rafting on the "River of No Return", hiking in Montana's wilderness area, sinking in quicksand up to my shoulders, being part of a traveling theater group, are just a few of the exciting adventures in my life but raising five children of my own and three foster children has brought me more excitement, tears, laughter, and personal satisfaction than anything else I've done. 

A few days ago I finished reading Covenant Motherhood by Stephanie Dibb Sorensen.  More than any other book I've read about motherhood this one touched me and expressed many of my own feelings and discoveries about motherhood.  She compares the essential elements of mothering children to the key concepts Jesus taught and lived while here in mortality:  creation, teacher, succorer, provider, cleaner, defender and protector, one who loves, sacrifices, forgives, shares, and saves.  With realistic short sketches from her own life as a young mother she points out the challenges, discouraging moments, and the triumphs that face mothers and relates them to mothers' eternal relationship with God as they walk closely in the Savior's footprints.
When I was a young mother I really didn't like Mother's Day.  No way could I measure up to the saintly examples extolled in the talks or poems given that day.  The perfect mothers lauded that day made me feel inferior and like a failure.  Fortunately Mother's Day talks have become more realistic through the years and I've gained a better understanding of what being a mother means.  I'm not perfect and I didn't raise perfect children.  What matters is how much I love them and how grateful I am to be their mother.  I'm thankful too for the memories we share and that they've all grown up to be responsible adults.  Along with the fine people they are, they've given me five more responsible adult children to love, and a baker's dozen nearly perfect grandchildren.  

In the Art of Motherhood, which I've talked about before, I had the opportunity to tell of the miraculous arrivals of my two youngest grandchildren. (The two-year-old has been very concerned about Grandma's big owie and became nearly hysterical when she saw my leg in the CPM machine.  She's convinced it's an alligator because it opens and closes like the actions for a familiar nursery song about an alligator that snaps monkeys out of a tree.)  I often call these two little girls our miracle babies, but in truth I consider all of my children and grandchildren "miracles."  Nothing could possibly bring me more happiness than being their mother and grandmother.