Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Bess

Look at my new PINK beach cruiser!!!! I am sooooo excited, I got a bicycle and I haven't ridden a bicycle in about eight years. It even has a basket! Because it's a girl bike, I can ride it in my skirts/jumpers and I feel just like the Wicked Witch of the West, carrying away "that little dog ToTo", I can even hear the I pedal away.
The one problem - the last time I rode a bike I crashed spectacularly - body flying over the handle bars - landing head and chest first with such speed the I hit and bounced a few times before I stopped. It was ugly. I replay it often in my head, and not only was it ugly, it was pitiful.
I really haven't ridden a bike much, even when I was a little girl. What caused the accident was when I tried to move from the road to the sidewalk, I sort of leaned a little to the right, (kind of like changing lanes) only this doesn't work for bikes, I found out belatedly.
I know you are thinking, "What kind of idiot is this?" Yeah...well...I don't have a real answer for that one. Many people including my husband have often wondered what transpires in the mysterious realms of my mind. pink enthusiasm...first ride around the block...
You guessed it, I didn't even make it around the block before I crashed (this time an embarrassing crash in front of the road workers, but no bodily harm)
This is where my hero comes in. BEN! Yes, my son, with great patience, and enthusiasm coached me for the next hour on how to ride a bike. Within the safety of our little "Willows Neighborhood" I cruised and recruised the streets until, even the road workers could see that I had, if not mastered, at least become competent on this PINK cruiser. I LOVE IT!!!! No kidding, I am sooooo jazzed, excited, giddy and over the moon for "Big Bess" - my new PINK bike. And for my hero - Big Ben.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The flies that circle in my house are not as cute as the fly on the above pencil, and hence the violence which befalls them will not be as shocking if you try and picture those nasty, black, germ filled buzzing insects that fly into your food or eye. And we all know where those sticky, prickly feet have recently been; does fecal matter come to mind? (a new phrase used by my second son to annoy me)
"Hand me a Towel!", I scream, when I see that sickening menace. As if by instinct, I grab the closest towel, or piece of cloth that I can put my hands on and then I take to flailing about with uncontrolled passion. The cloth smacks the kitchen counter and knocks down the mixmaster, the loaf of bread, and assorted utensils.
Unsuccessful - Curses!
I next whomp the window sill, knocking down my beloved shells, beloved crystals, and beloved Tiffany glass rendering. You see, even my treasured collections are not safe when the almost insane frenzy of murder overtakes me.
Unsuccessful - Rats!
Don't worry, no loss of worldly goods will stop me on my quest for...
at this point Roy pins my arms to my side and eventually calms me as he persuades me that he has a better record than me, and so I resignedly pass the towel.
The fly is killed, time passes, and the next day I hear-
"Hand me a towel!", Chase, my 3 yr. old grandson bellows. Oooooooh what joy consumes my bosom knowing that important traditions are being passed along.

Friday, August 1, 2008

An Elated Grammy Kate!

Weston Joshua Earl is here on earth. He came two weeks early, weighing 6lbs. 4oz., and he looks just like his proud papa. He has a strong spirit of peace and something else I can't put my mind around, but when you hold him in the night when everythings quiet, the strength of feeling is almost palpable in the room. Getting to know this little lad will be a joy!

Emily and Josh are thrilled and Emily has a hard time unwrapping her arms around her treasure, although she is generous in sharing, I can tell she feels empty when he's not tucked up against her - probably cause for 9 months he's been tucked and smushed and it's natural for both of them.

I'll e-mail a site where everyone can look at more photos - cause of course, he's gorgeous.

Thank you for everyone who has been so kind and sweet to my Emily, I feel so blessed to know others care and look after her.
Love All of You!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Sorrowful Obsession

I have a need to make things better. Consequently, I often act impulsively to fix, or heal, and live to regret it. I "take on" a needy family, befriending them only to learn down the line that their problems are too complicated to ever resolve, but have unwittingly created their unhealthy dependence on me.

I once jumped out of the car to rescue a beaten prostitute, hauling her into my van not knowing her pimp was tailing us and more importantly, that she was mentally unstable, as she stripped to show us her weapons of nails and broken glass. Another time I jumped out of the car on a freezing winter day to give my coat to a coatless pre-teen on her way to school, only to scare her to death as she thought I was trying to kidnap her. (the fact that she spoke no English didn't help)

So, you are probably getting the picture. Dogs are another object of my sorry obsession. Every dog we have ever owned has been in need of rescuing because no one else was crazy enough to take on the load of problems. Poopie (we did not name him), a 11 year old beagle with serious mental problems. Jimmy, neglected from birth, the vet advised us to take him back. Muffin, who was sooo mentally slow, we ended up giving him to the crazy neighbors next door, which was a punishment no living thing deserved.

There are countless others, but the last and saddest attempt at being a savior involved my beloved dog, Captain Tanyon. Captain Tanyon was 9 months old and terrified of everything and everybody. He crawled in on his belly and quivered out of reach. Instead of choosing one of the six, healthy, socialized and happy puppies crawling all over me, I took home Tanyon. I was advised by two experts to return him. No matter what I did, they feared he would turn into a fearful/aggressive dog. I was convinced my love could conquer all. I did not conquer anything, but my heart. I loved this dog, as I have rarely loved anything other than my children and grandchildren. Tanyon, in turn, adored me. Other than Roy, he tolerated everyone else and took a immediate dislike to Ben. The whole relationship was so unhealthy that everyone, even an amateur psychologist could point out the potential disaster. Everyone, except me.

Long story - short...Tanyon turned on my grandson James, biting him twice. We returned Tanyon to the breeder and my heart has seemed empty every since. As Tanyon foamed at the mouth, in terror, sensing what was moments away, I felt my obsession had done more harm than good for all involved, especially this dog as he looked at me with pleading eyes to save him once more, only this time I couldn't. There is a lesson to be learned here, but I'm too bruised to learn it quite yet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

water balloons and bubbles

I know it's been a long time, but here goes...

Summer officially begins for me when Chase
demands, "Time for water balloons, Grammy?", actually it started at 2yrs with, "Ga,Ga, boons, Grammy?" and, at 3yrs, is now, "Gwater bawoons, Gram?"
Also blowing bubbles is high on the summer, have tos. This year Angie got a fancy balloon gun that was loads of fun. Jumping on the trampoline with a sprinkler squirting underneath saved us on our first 100 degree days.

Whole days can be spent in the backyard with a small trickle of water, a bucket to catch it, and hundreds of water balloons filled-then broken, filled-then broken, filled-then broken. But this year our starting day began with a slight deviation from the norm. After tens of balloons met their demise throughout the yard, Chase suddenly took a liking to a baby orange balloon. He cradled it and then paced around the yard searching, until he found just the right spot, under the base of a fern. He gently placed the gwater bawoon, with a..."you wait right there, kay?" Then with his head and arms leaning against the cherry tree, he started counting...."1, 2, 3, 7, 12, 5, 6...weddy or not, you be caught!" Amazingly, Chase searched everywhere in the backyard, until at last he found the orange gwater bawoon right under the fern..."Oh, there you are," he exclaims with a giggle . The giggle at the end is what sealed this experience as one of my favorites.

So.....what are you up to this summer?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Meet Eve

After waiting over 30 years, since I owned my first home, I finally planted an Acer Palmatum, or, Japanese Maple. Around the corner from my home is a beautiful maple tree, that in the spring puts forth a "born again" green, lacy leaf that delights me. I pick one every spring and put it in between glass, mount it, and proudly display this essence of spring in a frame. After several years of this rite of spring, my children asked me, "Mom, why do you keep displaying a marijuana leaf in our front room?" How would I know? I've never even seen marijuana, unlike my experienced children. Yet, even though they protest, I still continued displaying my beautiful spring leaf. And now I have one of my very own, NO, not a marijuana plant----a maple tree.

You'll think me extremely silly, but I even got teary eyed when it was finally planted. I'm somewhat romantic and sentimental about nature, and this toddler tree will mature into a majestic and mystical specimen, just "ripe for the imagination", as Anne of Green Gables would say. In fact, Anne would probably christen this tree something like..."Flora of Emerald Isle"...but, I've decided to call her "Eve." Kathy, the tree expert, explained to us that this particular specie of tree is the mother of all the hundreds of varieties of Japanese Maples. Every new specie is a graft from this type of maple. Wow, my tree is the mother of all the maples, I shall call her Eve.

Friday, March 28, 2008

James and his phrases.

James is my wonderful and very Einsteinian grandson. One of the best parts of my day is hearing some of his unique phrases. For example: I'm driving down the road and he says with a sigh, "I live in dread of Thursdays." Did I mention that James is 6 yrs. old? Apparently Thursday is an early day and he dislikes getting up early. On another drive, when Grammy (me) was getting him to school late out came, " I absolutely loathe getting to school late, you know. "Yes, loathe, was the word he used.
He cracks me up. But today when I was walking through an empty and quiet house, I noticed a note written by James, on the floor, with no hint of what it was, or whom it was to.


was alone----on a page-----with the discarded pen underneath.
It was a little eerie, cause what 6 yr. old knows that phrase, and what would a six year old be "readily admitting?" Was he getting ready to beg his little brothers forgiveness for teasing him (who can't read/ so perhaps a bad theory)?
Or was he ready to admit to some dark secret he's been keeping for days and can only admit to by writing and leaving the note, anonymously, in a random spot? Yet, at the last minute, he can't make the full confession, hence - WHAT? READILY ADMIT WHAT??? The suspense is torment.

Living with James, is anything but dull. If only I could transfer a few of his brain cells to me, I'd be tossing out phrases with the best of the phrase tossers. (phrase tossers? is that a legit term?)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who Are We Really?

When I purchased this azalea plant
every bloom was a deep fuschia, and it bloomed for two years as a fuschia azalea bush. Then one year I noticed a lighter pink bloom. "How exciting," I thought, "...what a fabulous plant." The following year - white blooms. "Now wait a minute. Is this a schizophrenic azalea bush?"

Every day I walk by this fascinating bush and enjoy that one plant displays three distinctly different colors, and I wonder at the cause. Is it the soil? Too acidic? Too alkaline? Or is it the root system? Or perhaps the cause is in the very DNA of the plant. (Assuming of course, that plants have DNA). As my mind tends to do, I started drawing life metaphors from the sight before me.

It is always interesting when I visit Utah because most people know me as the "Cathy" they saw growing up, aka, the fuschia bloom. I'm now in a blinding white stage, but I realize I went through a light pink stage also. Also, many of the close friends in California are used to my light pink personality, and have failed to pick up the subtle clues that I am definitly more white these days. To defy all logic, my children look at me and see an orange bloom. My very own flesh and blood fail to see any pink, white or fuschia, and insist I'm through and through orange.

What I find to be my own personal truth, is although I may have been all three colors at one time or another, I'm ultimately a little of all of them, occasionally bursting forth with a major pink day, or surprising myself by the whiteness I displayed in a situation, where, dog-gone-it, I thought I'd given up that white mentality. Remember in Disney's Pocahontas, where she sings - You can't step in the same river twice, the rivers always changing, always flowing...Right On!...come to think of it most of my life philosophies can usually be summed up by Disney songs. (After raising 5 children I spent way more time with Disney than I did with Freud ) Ahhh...I to "The Tale of the Changing Blooms", who knows, maybe my children do know me best and next spring, sure enough, I'll walk out my front door and I'll behold a vibrant orange azalea.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Having fun in Paris

I can't think of anything more beautiful or joyful than my Abigail in "I'm full of life and I've just got to leap" mode. I wish all of you could see what a beautiful dancer she is. I feel soooo guilty that I never put her in dance classes, she has a gift. She moves with perfect feeling to music. And besides, she's got the best booty for shaking I've seen, since Beyonce. She's a little shy though, so if you see her, don't come right out and ask her to shake it for you. You are gonna have to warm her up with some good music; talk about nature, art, and poetry, then - bang - you'll have her doing anything you want - (of a pure and refined nature, of course)

NOTE* This blog, is not meant for any young men looking to court said booty shaker.

Friday, February 1, 2008

My Ram in the Thicket

Recently Muslims in parts of the world,as part of a religious rite, slaughtered a ram in rembrance of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac to God's wishes. I saw a picture of a young muslim girl kissing her pet ram just before the slaughter and it brought back vivid memories of when I participated in a similar event.
When I was 16 I went to Southern Utah to "survive" for 30 days off the land, while hiking over 300 miles. Usually we were given a ration of 1/2 c. dry oatmeal, 2 tbl. brown sugar, and 1 cup of flour to eat for a week. But one particular week we ate completly off the land. We ate ant larvae, black snacks of some variety, a rattlesnack, and lots of greens, while hiking over 50 miles. When we reached our base camp, a ram was tied to a pole in a small haven surrounded by trees. We were informed that we would kill the ram, to experience a profound gratitude for the ram giving up his life, that we could eat. The deeper metaphors were left for us to discover on our own.

What I remember most vividly was that this ram KNEW what was going to happen. He started breathing so heavily that he labored to just take in a raspy breath. His entire body trembled with no control. His eyes darted from person to person.

The girl that volunteered to kill the ram, elected to use a knife to slit his throat. She was not strong enough and so after stabbing the knife in, was unable to slice to the other side. A man offered to help, but with no success. Finally one of the leaders loaded a gun to kill the ram, who had been crying with an eerily newborn baby sound. The shot sounded and it was finally over.
What did I learn from this macabre experiment? Well, right then I learned that no matter how hungry I was I would not eat the meat. (I was the only one out of 35 to do so). I learned that we all share a spirit of life, witnessed by the rams behavior of pre-knowledge. I learned that if they were trying to teach me about God sacrificing his son, it did not work. I just felt horrible, with no greater principle to hold onto. As the years have gone I can't say that I have progressed into any deeper metaphor. Did I equate God The Fathers sacrifice of His Son? Partly yes, but...the lesson seemed lacking and as much as I wanted to think of God's sacrifice, I just felt empty. Mostly, I just keep thinking whoever came up with this idea, must have thought it would profoundly affect young minds to a more spiritual bent. But what actually happened for me was a disgust that a group of humans could take part in such a needlessly painful way to slaughter a living animal. It was wrong. Wrongly conceived. Wrongly executed.

I think of that young muslim girl slaughtering her pet ram and I hope that with the sacred rites of her religion, her experience will have meaning that will strengthen her beliefs, instead of leaving her bereft and questioning.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Roy was made Bishop in our church last week. It was an amazing day with experiences too sacred to share on a blog site. My soul was full and my mind was on overload. When I was speaking I mentioned my inadequacies and questioned my ability to be a strong support. But when Roy was at the pulpit speaking, he gave me a tribute that I want to remember into the eternities. I don't know if it was the words exactly, or the feeling I could feel teeming inside him that made it so memorable. But when he spoke it was like poetry. I will share what I remember, but I'm sorry that I've lost his phrasing and words that made the imagery so beautiful.

He said... "Catherine thinks of herself as an anchor that drags me down, but what she has never realized is that she has a depth, sensitivity, and knowledge of the gospel and life that one can only get if you have been to the depths and gained it there.

I see her as my anchor, in the best of ways. I'm able to grow and stretch and learn because she anchors me. Without her I would have been crashed on the rocks long ago."

Thank you, my dear and cherished partner. I will always treasure your image of an anchor. I love you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Goodbyes Are Hard

My Abbie's gone to London.
I started going through all the art work of my children, trying to make space in my home after the holiday haul and I found this self-portrait of Abigail, when she was in kindergarten.

She still has a beautiful and infectious smile. She still has a little left of her original very strawberry blond hair. Her eyes have morphed into a kaleidoscope of greens, grays, and blues. And she still has a gorgeous and very huge nose (exactly like the portrait) Just kidding, about the nose.

And I'm wondering where all those 20 years went. After her four months in London she will go back to BYU and finish her education, and I realized that these last four months, while she's been home earning money for her trip, have been an unexpected and probably not repeated gift. I already said goodbye when she went off to college and now this goodbye is even more painful, cause she's grown into such an engaging and loving adult.

Goodbyes are hard, whether they are school, or a mission, or long distance moves, or even deaths. Sometimes it's hard to live in the present when our memories of treasured moments of the past entice us to linger and long for a repeat showing.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Angela spent the night in the hospital in horrible pain all by herself. She even drove herself. I get a call at 7 am from the hospital. It's a kidney stone and it hasn't passed! She's got a few more days of misery until they will consider doing surgery, hoping it will pass on it's own.
I had a kidney stone when I was first pregnant with Patrick. It was pain on a scale from 1 to 10 - a 10!!!!! (for those medically interested, it was a staghorn stone, the one in the above picture called agony - they can't pass on their own they have to be removed surgically) We don't know what kind of stone Angela has, yet.
But - my little baby - is in terrible pain and I can't do anything to help. When I went to pick her up she was trembling with pain and had a green face. She said, "There was a little baby in the other room all night, I'm just sooo glad it's me hurting, and I'm not here with one of my babies."
She also said, " I was hoping that at some point the pain gets so terrible you pass out." Yeah, like in the movies - at what point is the pain bad enough you get to experience oblivion?