Saturday, December 22, 2007



Sorry.....I couldn't help it, this picture is priceless.

What I really wanted to express is how much over the years I've come to treasure my extended family. I remember just starting out in married life and everyone was wonderful and perfect. Then a few years latter, everyone had such weird quirks and ideas which could be irritating. Then several years after that, those strange traits were endearing and I realized I had as many or more strange traits as anyone. I used to become soooo frustrated when my mother would call me EVERYDAY. I was married and independent and a call to ask me daily what I was having for dinner seemed such an irritation. Now, I would give anything for that "irritation". Roy has wonderful brothers and sisters; I have wonderful brothers and sisters, and who we are in very large part is due to our parents. Ergo - our parents were wonderful. Our modern life somehow fosters the idea that if anything is inconvenient or less than perfect, from appliances to people, just get rid of it, make your life as easy and smooth as possible. But relationships are anything but easy, and the harder one works at a relationship the more valuable it will become. If we all foster patience, versus judging, our differences can be part of our strength. I've been too slow to really internalize these truths, and I'm sure I will still be challenged, but when the family gets together, you all look delicious to me, warts and all. I hope that big, old, giant wart on my nose won't keep you from loving me, cause I've discovered a real just can't have too much family.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ruby Kat Moon

When I was in Hawaii Pat told me a story about an employee that had a horrible divorce, and at that time was allowed to petition, without legal battles, what her name would hence forward be, and she chose....Ruby Kat Moon. She then moved to Hawaii with her young adult daughter, they both got a job working on Pat's boat, and she is a fantastic amalgam of personality.

I just couldn't stop thinking about that name. It just rolls deliciously off my tongue. It has "great scope for my imagination," and I tried for days to come up with a better "life's just been shot to hell, so I'm gonna start over with an edgy sort of vivacity," sort of name. Tingles of excitement just burst around my nerve centers when I say that name...Ruby Kat Moon, Ruby Kat Moon, Ruby Kat Moon. Without a doubt, there is a Ruby Kat Moon deep inside me. A Ruby Kat Moon would wear hats, without self consciousness. A Ruby Kat Moon could say truthful and outrageous things, without feeling guilty. A Ruby Kat Moon would twirl and sing in a meadow with abandon. A Ruby Kat Moon could....oooh.....the list just goes on and on. Do you have a Ruby Kat Moon soul? And what is his or her name?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Paradise with Pat and Jess

It's been too long since I've been back from the Big Island, but it is and will always remain for me a runner-up to what Heaven has to be.

Whether the lushness of the wet side or the ocean's colors, beauty and life of the dry side, I just can't get enough.

And here is Patrick's own "A Bay" (Anaehoomalu) I just wish my cheap camera could have caught the real colors.

And my own Pat and Jess - the greatest treasure I will ever see or experience in this paradise.

The Roots of Life

When I was in Hawaii visiting Patrick and Jessie, everywhere I turned nature seemed to be speaking to me in metaphors. Anyway, life lessons seemed to pop before my eyes whether I was visiting the rain forest, or the beach or the volcanoes. Perhaps I was just in a contemplative mode, but I wanted to come home and write them all down. This picture of the tree with it's hundreds of roots pushing through the bark and heading deep into the soil spoke forcefully to me of my own "roots". Is every energy source necessary for my growth reaching for fertile soil? Do I struggle past the inconveniences or hardships to breakthrough and reach the rich nutrients awaiting me? And am I firmly, determinedly, holding on?
Saying all this is probably redundant, for you probably got all that just by looking. But, wow, isn't that tree a sermon? Now, for this tree...
Further on in my walk in the botanical gardens I came to the older more mature version of the first tree. I certainly felt this trees age. I felt like my roots had been struggling for soooo long, but sometimes they dried along the way trying to reach the deep soil. Some of my roots were brittle from hard lessons, or life just not turning out the way I'd thought. But, other of my roots were still just as vital and were reaching down from tremendous odds to stay firmly planted.
I guess you could say the first tree was me at 25; strong, assured and sure of my course and outcome. The second tree is me at 50; seasoned, broken in places, but still struggling. A kind of enduring sort of beauty, not particularly beautiful, but admirable.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Transformation can happen when a few key elements come into play at the right time and in the right setting. Walking on a windy day, the threat of rain ( even a few drops make it better), rays of sun pushing their way earthward between moving clouds, AND...just the right music. Before you know it I'm transformed into an ageless sprite freed from reality, restrictions and despair, where possibilities abound and my body beats with the rhythm of music and nature, where unadulterated joy rushes along my nerves and suddenly, in the middle of the street, I've been known to dance. I've been known to reach my arms skyward, palms up, back arched, and twiiiiiiirl. A slow, all encompassing twirl, drinking in the elements. I've also been known to strut with a cocky sort of attitude, if the music has a strong beat and attitude.
An ode could be dedicated to the wind, or the sun rays or the moving clouds, but it's the "right" music that I'm thinking of now. A swelling of violins, or a syncopated piano rising from bass to a sentimental treble cleft.
Example - swelling starts -If could fall into the sky, do you think time would pass me by...
cause I'd walk a million miles...violins crescendo - if I could just see you.....tonight. violins madly stringing... tada da da da duh.
Or something terribly drippy and sentimental -
Don't dream too far, Don't lose sight of who you are, Don't remember that rush of joy,
He could be that boy....I'm not that girl.
Or, something with drawn out vowels
Pretty lady on my mind got me gone (gauhn) again
Or, an unusual male voice
John Mayer, Ben Harper....
Or, a strong beat with personality
(STRONG DOWN BEAT/ REST) Come on over, Come on over baby
The next thing you know - I start strutting and life is goooood.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I brake for rats!

Today I swerved to avoid hitting a rat in the street. It was sitting on it's hind haunches and eating smashed leftovers and I slowed, recognized it was a rat, and swerved. Here in Northern California, as in other areas, rats are disgusting, carriers of disease, and I swerved. What has happened to the little girl who used to put a stone on the body of a daddy long legs and proceed to pick off, one by one, the spiders legs, or the girl that used to burn to toast any handy bug that I could put under my magnifying glass? Do you know that I now go out of my way to carefully trap bugs in my house so I can release them in the backyard? President Spencer Kimball told of a song called, "Don't kill the little birdies," that changed how he forever saw any living species. We once had a mole in our front yard that was destroying the many dollars worth of landscaping that we had invested in. We tried everything, and finally Roy plugged up all the holes but one, then flooded the routes out, all the while waiting with a shovel to crack his skull. He finished the job, came in the house, took a shower and came out still shivering. It was a horrible experience that he even teared up over. And.....I'm glad he did. Cliched as it is, life becomes precious the older you get, and in animal years I'm ancient. I'm glad, I think, that I "brake for rats," although I don't think I'll put that on my bumper sticker.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Magic Bag of Happiness

Don't be alarmed but if you look at the picture to the right you will actually be looking at
"The Magic Bag of Happiness." That's right's here...
and it's real. On the day of my 51st birthday my grandson James was concerned that there were no balloons, no plans for a party, no games, not near enough presents and we were just having a lousy old dinner to celebrate my aging event. So while I enjoyed myself outside on the hammock with a cross word puzzle - the better to allow all the cooks in the house to whip up a feast - James came out several times chatting with me, in his very articulate and grown-up syntax, explaing that he was gravely worried that my birthday was a bust. (He just didn't understand that for a woman that has cooked dinners for all of her life, a good dinner prepared by "qualified" hands other than her own, is a marvelous present.) But back to the magic bag...after a goodly while James comes out cradling, as if a treasured baby bird, "The Magic Bag of Happiness." Now, so you have some background...this bag is very familiar to me. It is a bag containing a child's game called "Rush Hour Jr," which includes plastic cards, a small grid, and playing cards - hence - my puzzlement in why he's gently cradling it.

"Grammy, this is "The Magic Bag of Happiness" and when you choose one of the pieces inside, it will give you whatever you need to make you happy." James senses my skepticism, "Now if you touch a's not really a car, and if you touch a's not really a card." Wow, this is getting really trippy ---"No, Grammy, it's just something to hold onto. It's grabbing it out of the bag, THIS bag that makes it magic." Looking into those sparkling and earnest blue eyes, who was I to doubt? Magic? Happiness? He's right. I have it everyday. All I have to do is stop, really look, believe, and reach - ahhhh, a hug from my James (or
Chase) - yup, it's all around me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Fairy Tale Ending

I kissed my prince and he turned into....a dolphin. That would be the happy ending to my fairy tale. All my life I have loved dolphins. As a pre-teen I would walk the mile and a half to our town library and spend Saturday afternoons studying about dolphins, then go home to dream about them. Luckily when I got my license I could drive to the Salt Lake library which had greater depth and variety to my favorite subject, but still spend my free time studying this fantasy of mine, instead of at least dream of dating-like any healthy 17 year old.

When I was pregnant with Angela, Roy and I traveled to San Diego's "Sea World." Tears ran down my cheeks the moment the dolphins swam into the large show pool. After the show, Roy held me as I continued to cry and tried to make sense of my feelings. Dramatic? Okay, no question, but it was the pinnacle of all I had dreamed. I was just a hick, small town, Utah girl who wasn't ever going to go to such exotic places as San Diego, California. But- exotic did enter my life when, as a young mother, we moved five miles from our own "mini" Sea World. At this marine world there was a dolphin petting pool, which I would spend every second my whining children would allow. *Note: they had a point - they were missing the whale show, the tiger show, and the fantastic playground, while mom wooed this fat dolphin called Gordo. But Gordo and I became best of friends. He allowed me, and me only, to pet him when I was there, ignoring all the other reaching hands. After letting my children drag me away to actually spend time with them, I returned to Gordo after an hour absence. He circled the pool increasing his speed till water slooshed out, finally rising high above me to spit in my face. I was devastated until the docent explained that he was acting out his anger; after all, I had abandoned him for a whole hour. Gordo died about a year later and that was then end of my dolphin days. Although my son Pat, who lives in Hawaii, frequently has awesome encounters with dolphins ( I'll let him blog about ), it still left me on the outs. But, this summer we went to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom - a cheesy, tacky excuse for "animal shows", in the guise of an amusement park. James and Chase got splashed by the orcas, but the show was bad. It would hurt too much to see the sacrilege they would make of the dolphin show. I just couldn't go. But just before we left I saw a small sign in a neglected corner of the park, "$45.oo to pet a dolphin" - sooo..., I used to pet Gordo free as often as I wanted, sooo... Pat gets to swim in their native environment; free of gimmicks and a pure encounter, so? I'm desperate. I paid. I petted and rubbed and cooed and kissed and even now, writing about it, tears are welling in my eyes. Dramatic? Yeah, but......he's my prince.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Bad Fairy

Santa Claus in the Robinson household was great!!! The Easter Bunny - probably a little better than average. The Tooth Fairy? An abject failure. Roy and I have never been able to pinpoint exactly why the tooth fairy just didn't have the drive and passion to fulfill her or his calling. Picture the scene: a toothless grin in an eager face, talking constantly of the coming night with the magical transformation, and the morning when he or she peeks under the pillow delighted with the coins left in place of the very familiar tooth they had wiggled endlessly. They are tucked in, assured that the tooth fairy is somwhere near just waiting to delight them. Morning comes - NO COINS - the tooth's still in the envelope - look some more - no coins. At this point a very sad and disillusioned child comes to breakfast with the envelope in their hand. It's now up to mom to explain this fiasco. "Oh, honey I'm sure the fairy just forgot." (good one mom- now the kid thinks they're not worth remembering) or - "I'm sure the fairy just had an extra busy night, soooo many teeth, you know." ( oh so, now the busy fairy gets to all the kids but yours, how do you think that feels?). Now replay this exact scene over for the next night, and the next, and the next. No kidding, now you know how deprived dear little Abigail felt. Her experiences were the worst. But each of the five children all lived with the failure of being remembered by The Tooth Fairy. Not just one time but with several of their teeth. There are no excuses, nothing can justify the wrenching pain and lifetime of scars that disgusting fairy inflicted on the Robinson children. Booooooo to that fairy!!!! Booooo!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Genuine Steam Engine Ride

Our adventure this weekend was to ride a 100 year old steam engine at Roaring Camp Railroad. Chase was mesmerized by the steam engines sounds and the visual impact of the steam spraying and puffing. James said, "I could have thought of lots of things to do today, but I couldn't ever come up with something this wonderful."
That sure made me feel good about coming up with the idea. Especially since the last time I went there was when my children were little and there was an accident on Highway 17, we sat in 100 degree weather for hours, finally took some tiny road off the highway, wandered for what seemed like hours, to finally arrive and eat a horrible meal in a dusty, hot picnic spot, be attacked by insects and MISS the train. I vowed never to come back. Oh well, what's a vow? This time couldn't have been better. It was a beautiful, cool day and the giant sequoias were majestic as we gazed skyward and the train chugged it's way up to the top of Bear Mountain. The sun's rays pierced the leafy heavens that towered hundreds of feet upward.

After the train ride, we walked a nature trail through the redwoods. We hid in the hollows of burned out sequoias and found the tree John C. Fremont camped the night in. Once you crawled through the small hole at the bottom you entered a 15 foot wide and 30 foot high hideout. Cool! We stared at the cross section of a giant trunk that marked when Jesus was born, when the civil war started, and other amazing facts all told in the rings of the tree. With a music cd about lonely peas and crabby crabs to sing to all the way home, it couldn't have been better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Is there something in the world that just grabs those creative juices and ideas tumbling pell-mell through your mind? I have several (later blogs to be expected), but rich colored fabrics and especially colorful yarn, with their various textures, stir my unused well of latent talents to bubbling.

Suddenly, I get this urge to Knit. But it's the URGE, not the knitting that gets me excited. It's
what all the beautiful colors and textures do to my, at rest, creativity. That moment when creativity goes from passive, to full throttle. It's a moment charged with possibilities and the accompanying adrenaline resulting in joy, is a wonderful by-product.

But whether it's knitting, or painting or dancing, or remodeling my house, just looking at these colors revs up my thought engine.

More often than not I do nothing with these urges. Sometimes I feel slightly bad about that and other times I am satisfied that I can have those juices flow and not feel the responsibility to do anything about them. Just to know that there are sparks just waiting to be ignited is exciting enough. I like not having the burden of always acting, doing, becoming. Just to sit comfortably as the ideas tumble through my imagination is an experience complete with it's own kind of satisfaction.

I think for my daughter, Angela, table settings and cookbooks. Roy, well, it's a sketch book, with accompanying paints. Abigail - nature, and challenge. Emily - nature, and travel. Pat - perhaps the thought of adventure. Ben - mmm...mmm...a ball of any sort? I know they have many others. What are some of yours?
But, dang, when I see something like this, I'm just sure I can knit. And that knowledge is good enough, so don't expect so see me with knitting needles any time soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunglasses for every mood

Oprah proclaimed today that,"Sunglasses are like shoes, you should have some for every mood." Feelings of isolation washed over me. I've never really been "into" sunglasses or shoes and I know that most the people around me are. My children, friends, strangers and even Roy all get excited about sunglasses. I don't get it!!! Doesn't anyone want to see the colors in the world just the way God intended them. I get driving with sunglasses on long trips to reduce eye strain. And maybe on a really sunny day at high noon at the beach, but no thanks, I just can't pass up true ocean colors, or a sunset without artificial tints. Admittedly if I looked like the model above I'd go for it. I guess I've never been with it, as I notice each Sunday as the really beautiful folks have more pairs of shoes than I have had in my whole life. But it's time to face facts: GI Joe has sunglasses, beloved bunnies have sunglasses....I can get sunglasses for sassy moods, chic moods, sophisticated moods...I'd begin to walk with a strut...I'd....I'd.........................Oh forget it, I'd much rather buy new plants for my yard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Head over Heels or High Wide and Handsome?

Anyone that has seen me water the lawn, weed the garden, paint a craft, cook a new recipe or more recently, cut hair…..surely has seen a woman “jumping in with both feet”, “flying by the seat of her pants”, or as a past Bishop described me, “that woman is a loose cannon.” Defintion: an unpredictable person or thing, liable to cause damage if not kept in check by others. Because James recently gave a lecture on “idioms”, I decided to use his lesson to try and describe why I chose this picture to accompany my blog name. It seemed the most representative of all the idioms that describe me. “Head over heel” seemed appropriate, but interestingly enough the phrases that seemed on the mark had swear words in them – like –“Hell bent for leather”, or "arse over teakettle”. (That one gave me a chuckle) You know, I always start with such good intentions. I see a small weed in my garden – I bend down in my Sunday dress – ahhhh…another weed…another…compacted earth…needs mulch…sack of mulch is new….grab anything handy to gouge hole in sack…sack explodes…try to clean up before Roy sees…, I think you get the idea. Oh did I mention, ALWAYS, dirt in apparently hilarious locations on my person. Let’s see… What about, “Helter-Skelter”, Meaning: In chaotic and disorderly haste. Or, “Pell-Mell”, Meaning: In disorderly confusion. The trouble is I am opposed to the negative connotations implied in all these idioms. I maintain there is passion, enthusiasm, and yes, a good deal of grace involved in my spontaneous jags. HAZAAAAA! I have found it! “ HIGH, WIDE, and HANDSOME” Meaning: In a carefree and stylish manor. Stylish…hmmm…Stylish… I’ll take it! (for those of you wondering, high-wide-and handsome, originated in the mid 1900's in reference to the independent cowboy)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rose Colored Glasses

Driving home from Utah to California, I woke from a long nap somewhere in the middle of Nevada. Roy was driving with a big smile on his face and a "little bounce in his drive" (if that can be a phrase) (cause that was what he was actually doing) - "So, Roy, how's the drive?" Roy looks over to me with a big grin. "It's fantastic, great, everything's wonderful." I'm a little unsure, I mean he has to have been driving a long time now with no break so I inquire further, "Are you sure you aren't tired?" Roy again looks at me with that contagious grin "Really, I'm fine, I'm just loving how beautiful the colors are this year in Nevada. They are so much greener and richer. It's just been wonderful." Having driven Nevada several times in my life, I cynically look out the window. Hmmmmmm......Then I look back at Roy.........sure enough, Roy has his dark green sunglasses on. "Roy! It's your sunglasses - the desert's just the same." Roy puts his hand up to his glasses and takes the snap on shades off. "Wow! No kidding - it was just the glasses! Isn't that amazing?" Yeah it certainly is. Roy was happy thinking that Nevada was a verdant desert and now he's happy that he has magical glasses. Roy just happens to be the kind of person who looks at life with rose (or green) colored glasses. Amazing?....... Yeah.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I just finished reading this exceptionally moving novel. The author is gifted in creating characters and the art of story telling. But for me this novel reached deep in my gut and wrenched and extracted a huge emotional land mine. Kabooom! I cried so hard and so long that after I went through all the Kleenex, I gave up and got a hand towel. Poor Roy, who had to start a road trip to Utah at 5 a.m. the following morning, was woken up by my wails and spent a few hours holding me, trying to grasp WHY I was in this condition. He left still not knowing. I got two hours of sleep that night. And spent the next day mostly in bed, recovering and wondering what had just happened to me. Occasionally for me, and I suspect others, stress and unresolved feelings get stuffed down somewhere slightly below the conscience level. This time I kept stuffing and stuffing knowing that sometime I would need to pull this all out and get rid of it or deal with it. But sometimes all that careful planning goes haywire when we get hit with an undetected road side bomb. My bomb was..."A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. As I started weeping for the beautiful story and the endearing characters, the tears just wouldn't stop and at some point I realized the tears were no longer about the book, and they just kept coming and coming. Resolution to all this: 1-It ended my writers block. Everytime I tried to blog in the last few weeks - there was nothing. Just nothing. 2- It ended the nothing. The feeling of feeling absent from everything and everybody and somehow just moving through life as a vague automaton. I feel today, mostly tired, but I FEEL. 3- No matter how many times I tell myself I'm fine, I've dealt with my fears....they like to creep back and hit me with the force of an atom blast. know I think it's okay to say "This is hard for me, this frightens the heck out of me!" No matter how logical it seems to be otherwise. 4- And mostly, it reminded me even if it's great, heaving,'s better than a dark, endless void pulling you slowly downward. 5- No matter how many times I tell myself, "Most people are NOT like this, so stop being this way!" It doesn't change the fact that I AM like this - I feel deeply about things. From nature to dogs, from children to family, from written words to music in my heart......I FEEL DEEPLY! - and it's NOT going to change. Like the 17th century poet, who expressed his feelings about his homeland as "a thousand splendid suns", in my heart I have moons and suns casting their light and their shadows, too inumerable to count, but they make up who I am - Kate.

Quote by.... 17th-century poet Saib-e-Tabrizi "One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs / Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Yes, This Stud Is Mine!!!!!

Yes!!! He's Mine!!!! This is my Roy, who at the age of 54 1/2, and hasn't water skied in years, is positive that he can get up on one ski - and - HE DID! He also climbed to the top of Half Dome with Emily and Snap last year and survived his fear of heights.

He is up for any adventure. He talks to complete strangers and actually gets them talking (something he learned from his dad)- he still flirts with sales ladies - and he still doesn't know he's flirting - and he still gets his problem resolved to his best interests everytime - even on the phone. He absolutely adores me and will do ANYTHING I ask of him, and I'm ashamed to admit that I've taken advantage of that trait - (never knowingly though). He thinks he can fix ANYTHING - and most of the time he does!!! (another trait from Gramps) He let me have dogs, when he doesn't even really like them. He even washes off Tanyon's (our dog) tummy when he pees, when I don't feel like it - which isn't very fun cause Tanyon has a crooked Ying Yang and can't hit the bush, but dribbles all over himself. Everyone in our church says he's the best at the pulpit, cause they love his smile and his voice. He loves to run whenever there's an errand to do or a project - he just starts running like he's a kid. He loves dumb jokes and loves to retell them to everyone, although Emily is usually the only one to laugh. He has beautiful blue eyes surrounded by oodles of laugh lines. He loves stupid - but really funny movies - you know the ones where the pre-teens are busting their guts - and he beats all of them for the most open, full, gut laugh. He likes to practice funny faces in the mirror, so he can use the best one at an appropriate time. He puts towels in the dryer and brings them to me, without me asking, if I'm cold and can't get warm. He gardens with me and pretends to love it, cause I love it. He loves to build sand castles with moats ( the moats are his passion) with anyone on the beach, but his favorites are his two grandsons. He loves to play football, basketball, or any sport, although he isn't particularly athletically gifted - but it has never stopped his enjoyment. He gets excited about something new, just like a little kid and his excitement is contagious. He......., oh this is just a start....but mostly...he loves me, and...HE'S MINE!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The "Time of Your Dreams"

Emily called briefly from her honeymoon to ask us to look up on her e-mail the next bed and breadfast along their trip up the Mendocino Coastline. When James overheard that the newlyweds had called he made this pronouncement...."I bet they were having the time of their dreams!" That phrase has been sounding in the back of my mind for a few days with a haunting type of truth. Why not? If you had to choose between --"The time of Your Life" -- or --"The time of Your Dreams" --which would you choose? Well, I don't think I could have dreamt anything better than Saturday, May 12th around 11:30ish. Emily at total peace and happiness. I don't know anyone I think deserves to have a happy ending more than Emily. She was absolutely radiant - but more importantly, with all the pre-wedding stresses and jitters, to see her sealed to her loved one, Josh, and then see the complete peace wash over her as she held on to him, just filled me with the joy of all my dreams.
Another of a moms dreams - in middle age-dom - is getting all the children together, and that also happened to me for a little more than a week. It is SOOO rare now when all these adult children, living all around the country, and with all their different lives and schedules, can actually get together and play. Seeing my children playing is a wonderful dream, as they all laugh and tease and reminisce together. Wack - a - Mole was the game of choice this time, and although I participated one night and it left me aching for several nights, it was hilarious. Ridi would wind up the wacker with a huge grin on her face, and then deliver the blow to the booty of the poor "mole" (usually Emily). The triumphant golfers returning as if, men of ancient times returning after a rousing hunt. Everyone folding napkins, tying ribbons, and working like demons to make Emily's wedding a wonderful "Time of Her Dreams". And, it happened!!! For there are times, although maybe fewer and shorter than we'd like that we have for a moment - THE TIME OF OUR DREAMS!!!! That is my wish for all of my friends and family, as I think of you this moment, each of you, with your struggles and challenges, that you may also have--sooner than you'd even hope for - THE TIME OF YOUR DREAMS! I love you all, Catherine.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Old Friend

31 years ago, just before I got married, it dawned on me that I would need a bed! Yeah, Roy and I had never discussed it, and so my dad and I ran to Levitz and picked up the cheapest double bed I could find, it took all of a half hour. Little did I know that this would be the one possession of ours that somebody, anybody, should have put a little thought into. Nobody told me that I would grow old on this bed and suffer aches in my joints. Nobody told me that I would grow bigger and a teeeny, tiiiiiny, double bed would seem awfully small, sooner or later. Nobody told me that I would fall off a horse at 45 and be bed ridden for months on an old, uncomfortable, sagging mattress.
I remember quite clearly when I was sixteen I visited my church leader in her huge home. She and her husband had a loft on the third story with a window dome over their bed looking up to the heavens. Underneath that dome was a teeeny, tiiiny, double bed. (Incidentally, they had 10 children) Another leader asked them how they could have spent all those years in that little bed. She replied, "Oh, we've always vowed that we would spend our lives in our marriage bed, and we've never regretted it." Well, that did it....being the romantic that I am, I vowed right there that when I married I would have a double bed and we would never get rid of it.
About, 5 years ago our children took pity on our aches and sleepless nights and bought us a new bed. But, they were considerate enough to buy another "double" bed because they knew our romantic history.
So today when a QUEEN size bed came in through the bedroom door and James and Chase happily wore it in, I couldn't help think that at the age of 50, some part of me had given up on the romantic notions of my past. I am bigger, and Roy does toss and turn, and I do have aches and pains and a little extra room would be nice - but, a large part of me wanted to tell them to take it back! Somehow hanging onto those young, romantic dreams seemed important. Why? I haven't really figured it out yet....or my heart of hearts, I'm still a young girl soon to be married with all the hopes and dreams ahead of her - and admitting otherwise, isn't something I'm eager to embrace.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Flat Road

When Neal Maxwell was driving across the Nevada desert he pondered on the landscape around him and later he made a statement something like, "Don't be impatient with the flat periods in our lives, these are the times we should reflect on the hills and valleys we have lived through, and prepare for the new terrain coming up."
I have driven the Nevada desert many times, especially when I had a young family and after several trips, I too pondered and came to a strong conclusion, " Somebody should blow up everything from Wendover to Salt Lake City, just a giant...KABOOM...and we'd all be the better for it."
Needless to say - the differences between us are all too obvious. Yet now that I fly to Salt Lake City instead of drive, I admit I recall with fondness some of the adventures along the flat roads. When Roy and I were just married we'd have hour long talks that led us down unexpected and illuminating highways of thoughts.
Then with the young children, the hundreds of games of "In My Grandfathers Tool Shed, there was a....", and "The Minister's Cat is an....alligator cat", or the plethora of traveling songs, the worst being "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
As a young child, staring out the window of the back seat and watching the shadows speed past, while the humming sounds of the tire and engine lulled me into a sort of halfway world, where I seemed to float somewhere above myself.
Some of my favorite times were the magical "Toby" stories that kept the children enthralled for another thirty miles. Roy sometimes took a turn story telling and they would invariably be about cowboys, and ranches, which we patiently endured, except for Pat, who would come from the back corner of the van for the first time of the trip and perch himself as close to his dad as possible. Once he was so engrossed in the story, that when Roy got to the part when the rancher nursed the cowhand back to health, young Pat cried out in horror, "He NURSED him!!!!"
Yeah, I guess there is a place for the flat, monotonous, boring stretches of our lives. They can sometimes turn out to be paths of wonder.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What do you LOATHE?

Last night at dinner James was trying to acurately define the word - LOATHE - and after asking his mother and the rest of us, he nodded his head in satisfaction and announced, " I loathe Porsches!!!!" Yup, folks, you heard it here and you heard it correctly, James loathes Porsches. I envy James's ability to know so definitively just what he likes and just what he loathes, it brings him such ease of mind. James actually means what he says, you see there are no grills on porsches and a grill is an absolute must for his idea of a car. But I grew up thinking porsches were the ABSOLUTE tops in a must have car, so I yearned for one. I even kept going out with a guy for awhile that I didn't really like, but, he had a porsche.

James's behavior gave me an idea...if I just said, with great conviction, that I loathed something that I really painfully yearned for, maybe the longing would go away. Poof! like magic.
So here goes...I loathe first class seats in air planes. I loathe Hawaiian sunsets. I loathe family rooms, you know, a room where everyone can gather and there's enough room for all to play and laugh and then go to their bedrooms at night and not have to put mattresses and foam on the floor, covering all available space just to accomodate your loved ones. Yup, that I definitely loathe. And what about a trip to the beautiful homes and gardens of England, imaginging Austin, Bronte, Eliot and others, oh, decidedly unabashed loathing. I absolutely loathe the idea of a vacation home in some beautiful, wooded mountain lot.

There - I feel much better! Sort of............well..............okay, it didn't help at all. From now on I will be as firm in my yearnings as James is in his loathings. I ache, pine, and yearn for a Hawaiian sunset....yeah....those longings feel right at home.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


At Easter dinner Chase was accidentally whammed in the head by the Brita water pitcher, and I really mean whammed. After a few shocked moments, the tears started flowing and then broken hearted sobs. (He was adorably happy and babbling moments before, so it was a real shock) Angela kissed and cajoled but he wouldn't be eased. But as soon as "blankie blue" was laid on his cheek, he melted into the blankie and Angie's shoulder. His entire body softened and curved to his moms. The crying abruptly stopped. He laid on her shoulder a few minutes and then he was ready to continue with Easter celebrations.

Oh how, at times, I long for comfort that complete. There are times sorrow and anxiety are so actute I feel my body screaming inside for aide. Yet often I will turn down other's requests to assist, even at times turning from a similarly loving shoulder and hug as Chase had. Are my sorrows really that greater? Have I learned that a hug and shoulder aren't enough? Or, do I for some reason turn from the very comfort I may know deep inside could help?

Sadly the answers are not easy, or have not been found, yet I watch Chase melt into "blankie blue" and I long with every part of my soul for my own blankie.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Gotta Love Those Toys

James has just been talking to me about the Ninja Turtle he just got at McDonalds - Donatello! Wow, did that bring back memories of my boys and the absolute NEED to get all the turtles, and the pizza shooter. We knew the personalities of each turtle and the boys could give the equal of a "Doctoral Thesis" on the turles, and Splinter, and Shredder.

When I was a young girl the absolute "Must Have" was a troll doll. Oh how I loved my troll. I would spend hours combing my trolls hair (with the special comb attached to the doll) All the friends would sit around at recess and talk about the merits of blue vs. yellow hair, or that the white hair was fuller. We had troll families, and friends, and whole societies. My troll got me through many a long church or a sad alone time, or a special hide out together and have a heart to heart talk time. My troll did tend to take me away from the "barbie" friends, or the special "feel like a real baby", baby doll friends. But, at last, after trying very hard to love barbies and even baby dolls, I had found my real love and my real friends. Knowing me now, it seems a natural fit.

So what about toys? Angela had to swim the whole length of Burgess Pool (which took her weeks and weeks) to get the beloved "Cabbage Patch Doll", which then, Emily just had to have one for her own. She begged and pleaded and bargained for one. I think Emily was much more attached than Angela. Then there was the beloved "He-Man and She-Ra! " Even I loved that whole romance of that series. Later it was "Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue" and the others.

The boys, of course, loved the "The Ninja Turtles" but their real obsession was "G. I. Joes," which they thought about and plotted to get the newest or the rarest "Joe." Daniel Mason their neighborhood friend seemed to have all the really hard to find ones like, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow! ( as seen in picture) But he obviously had the better mother(my boys thought) who would take him to Target every day to see if a new shipment had arrived and hadn't already been picked through. (Daniel's mother assured me she didn't go to Target daily)My boys reminded me of my failings often.

And now, here are my grandsons, James and Chase. James only too happy to jump on the latest must have new toy trend. And then Chase will come toddling up voicing in his own 2 year old speak... Yace hab ell! (meaning: Chase has Raphael)

So who did you love and (using Chase speak) who did you hab?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's Time To Hang Up Your Boa!

I admit I love any show on t.v. that has some sort of dance and singing competition to it. So I discovered a few weeks ago - ta da - Let's Find The Next New Pussycat Doll". Now for those of you who are not familiar with this group (like me) you might recognize....(imagine a music beat playing) "Don't Cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me." I've watched all of ten minutes of this show and I Do Not Recommend This Show!!! Repeat-Not! But...In that ten minutes I have picked up some life wisdom that begs to be repeated. In fact when I heard these small tidbits of knowledge I was deeply moved, my soul stirred. Get ready, here is the first:
NUMBER 1 - Every woman has a little pussycat doll in them. Wow, I didn't know that. The next time I go out, I'm gonna git down, snap my finger, give some unsuspecting man a feline sultry look, and watch out! There gist ain't gonna be no stoppin me. You bet, my claws are ready and my purr is revving up-so be prepared.
NUMBER 2 - It's time to hang up your boa! OOOOOOH....that's harsh. At the end of every show one girl is eliminated from the competition. (A little background info)-each girl has a bright red boa that she dances with in rehearsal, at home and finally in the competition. After their bootylicious number one girl is called out and told, "Sorry hon, but it's time to hang up your boa." A truer statement has never been said. For each of us, at some time, we will all have to hang up our boa. But, will we know when, and will we do it with the style and class a boa retirement requires. I don't know about you, but when I last got up in front of the ward in an old robe and curlers with fake eyelashes and belted some lyrics from "Guys and Dolls", why oh why didn't I recognize that a boa ceremony would have been appropriate. Oh no... I had to go on to dress up like The Mad Hatter, A Cheerless Housewife, and countless other moments that were past the true pussycat stage. I sorrow to know that when I got up to bear my testimony in church and happened to fall down, all the way, legs over head-only to stand up and wave to the congregation- didn't someone I love come to me and say, "Sorry, sweetie, but it's time to hang up your boa." Remember: Friends don't let their friends carelessly flaunt their boa's.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

MAMMOGRAMS! PG 13 - for males

My mother died of breast cancer so you would think that I would be at the medical center yearly for my mammogram, but you would think wrong, because somehow the fear of the MAMMOGRAM is stronger than my fear of cancer. Does this make any sense to a rational woman? Of course the answer is no, but here are the facts: 1- I haven't had cancer, although I've seen the misery, first hand, that it can cause. 2-I have had MAMMOGRAMS and KNOW the pain they cause. thus...The real pain is greater than the perceived pain. Does that sound like a good theory to anyone who actually studies psychology, logic, etc...
Well here are the next set of facts: 1- each MAMMOGRAM is totally different depending on the clinician giving the exam. 2- each MAMMOGRAM is totally different depending on the size of your breasts. 3- each MAMMOGRAM is different depending on the time of the month.

So...after three years of no MAMMOGRAMS I finally went in and hit the slab, so to speak. You know what, not too bad this time!!!! That is why I am dedicating this blog to "The Professional Mammographer with a Gentle Touch."
One year I had a girl that had just gradutated, I guess that could be a term, from her mammography clinicals....I fondly refer to her as "The Mammographer From Hell", I was one of her first 20 victims. After that experience, I trembled uncontrollably, I broke out into a sweat, couldn't stop from crying with a whinning to it, and then tossed my cookies. I was in pain for several days.
A few years past I had lost alot of weight and as women all over know, this means the bust size goes first, so I was really small. Those exams were painful but never, ever compared to the MAMMOGRAMS of a larger bust size.

The conclusion: 1- I heartily encourage all women to get mammograms. IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE. 2- Some of you won't have too bad of an experience. 3- Some of you will want to rip someone's eyes out. For the latter I suggest blogging, it's a great way to vent.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Great Puzzle Challenge

Today I was challenged by the "Great Dragon Puzzle" created by James Ballard. I tell you, he is very tricky, and clever, and sadly my puzzle went down in defeat. Here are the rules: each person draws a picture, then cuts the puzzle up in several pieces, then hands the pieces to the other player, who then tries to put the puzzle together.

The person whose puzzle causes the greatest challenge for their opponent wins. Besides the fact that James clearly had the better picture! He also had a strategy not stored in my aging gray matter. Namely... cut your pieces into teeny, tiny, 1/100th of an inch pieces every so often just to make the other person sweat. He also used a little known fact - make your picture soooo scary that the other person trembles while putting it together, causing shaking hands to fumble with the microscopic pieces. If you plan on coming to our house any time soon here is my advice: BEWARE AND BE SCARED!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Pebbles!! Oh the joy of scooping and sifting through the millions of tiny stones the ocean transformed from giant boulders for billions of years. Each pebble has it's unique shape, it's unique color which makes each pebble a find. My quest this day, as it has been before, was to find the perfectly rounded (like basketball round) white pebble. Through my years of searching I am beginning to think that nature does not create such a find. In fact, it leaves me wondering whether nature is trying in it's own way to teach us that conventional perfection is an illusion...but alas, we will leave that blog for another day. But today....Delight!!! Dark red pebbles, soft sea foam green pebbles, pearl and clear pebbles, pebbles that are an amalgam of the various rocks in which they were honed. Then there is the touch! Each stone seems so refined, so smooth. I find myself on a new search for the perfect worry stone. A stone of good size to fit between one's thumb and fingers, with the right degree of, yes, I'll say-smoothness. A stone, when worried between agitated fingers has the power to ease all the cares from ones soul to the very core of the stone. After years of worrying, a stone has a sleek, dolphin-like feel, truly a treasure.

The highlight of the afternoon was seeing how infectious the quest for treasure can be. James would come running up to me with each new pebble, describing just how unique THIS new pebble was. "Isn't this just the best, Grammy?" I look at him and I look at the stone...what can I say but, "Treasures!"

So...speaking of treasures...we found absolutely spectacular specimens of sea glass, they were blue, aqua, clear, amber, white and each ...and we...and I...ahhh, treasures!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just For Show

I remember when a family (who will remain unnamed) finished a 2 million dollar remodel which included a huge library, then proceeded to call a respected teacher to ask where they could go to find old leather bound books so their library would look authentic, somehow missing the point that if they weren't using their own books the library was already not authentic. Okay, so I admit, I love the look of leather bound books and if I had my own library I imagine I would probably purchase some used books just for effect. You probably get where this metaphor is leading, but here goes, anyway...When all is said and done I hope that enough of me is genuine, worn from life's road. That I am genuine, like "The Velveteen Rabbit" That I am real. Because every now and then it occurs to me as I'm embellishing a particular story, that doesn't need embellishing cause it's really good on its own, that parts of me are for "show".

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Raffi was singing to me today and I was singing along with him..."All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly, and love in my family." In the middle of a full voice aria, it occurred to me that I couldn't really sing this with a full heart, cause there were some other things that I really need. Like a bathtub, a Jane Austen novel, a good hair colorist and stylist, 500 thread count or above sheets, "Project Runway", and "The Office", and..., and.... Not to mention the really important things like no wars, and the end of the torture in Darfur, and..., and...., well there we are. Hmmmm..... Have you noticed that some songs we sing with full belief when we are children are not necessarily true. But, the catch is, we think they ARE true. We grow up expecting them to be true. Like - "When Your Heart is Filled With Love, Others Will Love You." - NOT - and how about, "Families can be Together Forever", what if you don't want your extended family to be together forever? What if you have an in-law that has made your life miserable and the thought of living with them forever seems more like hell than heaven. Okay, so maybe we should teach our children, "Send in the Clowns', or, "Rainy Days and Mondays", or how about, "Cat's in the Cradle", you know that part - "...when you coming home dad I don't know when....". I'll admit I'm being facetious, I don't think we should teach our children, "Apocalyptica." All I know is that today I felt great when I was singing along with Raffi. I feel great when I sing children's songs. Even if all our childhood truths twist and change and even seem to wound us at times, I would never trade the joy I felt and still feel singing and believing those innocent and pure dreams.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

...Speaking of Spring...

Speaking of Spring...when I was a little girl I spent hours at the very bottom of our property (about 2 acres away from the house), where I felt very alone and free to be whatever I created. Well....I decided that I was the guardian of all the spring blossoms, trees, and creatures. At the very back and left of the yard was dozens of lilac bushes, then a small lane of grass bordered on the right by dozens of crab apple trees, which formed a brilliant branching arbor to walk under. Each spring, robins would build nests in the crab apple trees. One year the nest was so close to my reach that I would daily climb up and inspect the brilliant blue of the egg. I would carefully pick each egg up and hold it in my cup shaped hand. One day an egg slipped out of my hand and landed with a splat on the ground. I heard the mother bird chirping madly at me. I was devastated! I cried as I picked up each piece of shell, and yet I couldn't fix it. Sometimes I wonder if at that moment I realized what it meant to be kicked out of "The Garden of Eden." Innocence with all it's wonder and magic was shattered by reality. I had killed a bird. For I truly knew and had seen new born birds and I knew the tragedy of this accident. My magic kingdom had been ruined, I lay prostrate on the grass sobbing. Although I had grand adventures in my yards for many years, with all the magic of imagination, I never played the "Guardian of the Spring Kingdom" ever again.


It's a standard family joke that years ago Catherine went on vacation for the first time and came home with 100 pictures of lava. (It certainly wasn't 100, but I admit a trifle too many) What befuddled me greatly, was that no one, and I mean NO ONE seemed to see the absolute magic captured on film. The day I hiked miles over nothing but black hardened lava in the very hot and humid Hawaiian sun, to suddenly see, smell and hear the magnificence of a hot lava flow, will always be one of my favorite days on earth. I watched the black lava about two feet high and several feet long, slowly move like an awakening dragon, twisting and rolling over itself, then suddenly turning a scorching red pouring over the earth, only to quickly turn darkest black again. It's movements were wildly unpredictable and exciting as it crackled and hissed. Suddenly, I had an amazing thought wash over me - I was witnessing creation. Creation happening at it's very most elemental form. It was as if I was allowed to stand near to God as He formed the earth. This black, red, hissing, oozing, boiling mass was life! The start of all life on this beautiful planet I live on. And in just a few places on earth it is still happening, and I witnessed it.

Friday, March 2, 2007

A Fine Character

My father had a huge nose, and I have a rather large nose, some would say huge. But it wasn't until I had teenage children that I had any clue that I had a huge snauzola. In fact, I thought my nose was one of the very attractive parts of me. My mother repeatedly told me while I was very young, that my nose, "...indicated fine character". She would smile and lift up my chin with her hand and admire my nose, all the time repeating how lucky I was to have such good character. I grew up believing that people would look at me and naturally know I was something pretty special. In fact, I was sure my nose, aka, character would be one of the things my, yet to be found, fiancé would be attracted to. I believed without one doubt. teenagers brought reality into my life, not just by comments, but comparisons, and sessions in front of the mirror. Oh horrors -they were right. I had a huge nose. I had noticed when I gave Eskimo kisses at night that my nose was the only one that didn't bend. It was true! But, what was it that for so many years convinced me otherwise? Quite simply - it was my mother's image of me. My mother's belief that my nose was beautiful and had character turned into my belief. As one of my daughters pointed out to me recently, a mother is the mirror of their child's image of self. Oh what a fragile, but essential mirror.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


"There is no remedy for love but to love more"
Henry David Thoreau
Last week these 5,000 year old skeletons were excavated in Italy, not far from Verona, Romeo and Juliet's fated city, where they loved and died. This picture left a haunting image wedged in my mind along with a myriad of questions. Who were they? How did they die? And did they meet death while gazing into each others eyes? I admit to being somewhat jealous, as I doubt whether I will leave this life while holding my loved one, his gaze strengthening my fears. I have been extremely lucky and blessed because I have a wonderful companion who is my best friend and source of all comfort, except that of my Lord. Such love does exsist, it always has and will continue to fall on a lucky few. Why me? I don't think the answer has anything to do with my conduct or Roy's, it just is. And for that I will hold on tightly, gazing into his eyes as we face the future.

"There is no remedy for love but to love more" Henry David Thoreau