09 February 2011

well read wednesday

I always have taken books when I travel. I take books anywhere. And I certainly want to appear intelligent. (yes, I am the girl who took calculus in high school so I could carry the book around) So I have hauled novels, journals, textbooks, literature anthologies... you get the idea - the deep stuff. Guess what happens? I fall asleep on the plane or the beach in the first paragraph and am not engaged one iota. So years ago before leaving for one of our first trips to St. John (favorite) Land's 3rd grade teacher handed me what she termed, "the trashy beach novel" It even had the above pictured quilted cover. I have been hooked ever since. Don't leave home without one. This novel - hmmm not quite - contained colorful story lines of all sorts of sordid adult behavior. I could blame the blushing on the sunshine and no one was more the wiser with that cute patchwork cover.

Well, light reading is awesome. Jenny had finished her quick read from the plane and passed it to me. I finished in less than four days. Entertaining? Yes. Highlighter? No Way. But the movie comes out on March 18th and I think Darren will even go to this one with me. So you have time to read "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly before the flick hits the big screen. You don't even need to cover this one.

08 February 2011

my heart

I'm getting ready to head to SLC for the visitation of Carmela Nielsen.

I loved her. As a teenager she was an influence, a force for all that is good to me. She was motherly, a protector, a professional, caring, smart, funny and beautiful. She was a physical therapist at my dad's clinic at Holy Cross. I hear her scolding me, with love, about the importance of being on time, about wearing socks with my shoes to work. About presenting myself with confidence, about standing up straighter. Where else does one learn these lessons? In the years since I worked at the clinic whenever I would see her she would light-up. Is that not the most incredible feeling - when some is physically brightened by your presence?  She was joyous, her voice was full of depth and reflected the character deep inside her. I was fascinated by the stories of her life, of serving in the Israeli army. She taught me about treating all people with dignity (the homeless that would sometimes enter the clinic and she would say, "prepare a hotpack and let them have a place to rest"), about sucking it up and doing your job (when I would balk at cleaning the whirlpool after a burn victim may have been treated). Love and safety are the words that fill my mind today. I miss you. I want to be like you.

02 February 2011

well read wednesday

While basically living on the floor of our closet last spring, due to renovations incurred as the result of a burst pressure valve in the upstairs bedroom I picked up Derrick Jensen's The Culture of Make Believe from the library. It was 700 pages long. I liked the heft of it. The cover was dark and curious. I started on page one and read at least 10 pages a day, in the closet. It was neither reward nor punishment for living in the closet. I just wanted to see if I could do it. It was finished by June. And I was moved and confused by the contents... not even sure of what the title meant... but certain I wanted more. I gave Chase a copy of Walking on Water and he started into Endgame after completing that. His adviser at U of M said he may need intense counseling if he sinks into Derrick Jensen's words. Well, I've had intense counseling and Derrick Jensen's writing is brutal yet brilliant. When dropping Chase off at Uni last August I perused the shops along Higgins Street in Missoula. I picked up some worsted woolen at Joseph's Coat and A Language Older Than Words at Shakespeare and Co. I liked the heft of it and the image on the cover. And when I read the inside leader that unspoken communication with animals was the genesis of this book I was committed. I thought it might be light. Wrong. This book is terrifying and uplifting. His reasoning is harsh most times, but I came away with renewed compassion... for myself, for my family, for life. From the beginning I read with a highlighter in my hand and I don't think a page was missed. The first phrase underlined, "Try it yourself. Listen to someone, pay attention to where your thoughts take you. It actually feels different to hear than to think." And one night almost simultaneously I was flipping through the channels and stopped on Democracy Now where I caught Amy Goodman interviewing the author calling him "the poet-philosopher of the environmental movement" and reading this passage...
"There is a language older and by far deeper than words. It is the language of the earth, and it is the language of our bodies. It is the language of dreams and of action. It is the language of meaning, and of metaphor... This language of symbol is the umbilical cord that binds us to the beginning to whatever source of who we are, where we come from, and where we return."
I took it as a sign. Sometimes you lose your intuition just trying to survive. That peace and still small voice. You are blinded to your responsibilities even in sorrow and anguish and grief. I am motivated by the deep dark questions and the word. Thanks to a philosopher-poet for the leading me back to both.

Glimpse my yarn being spun at Joseph's Coat. I would enter that store many times when the boys were babies, mouth watering at the many colors, now, knowing how to knit, I finally make a purchase.

Just spied this crazy good find at crazy sexy life... it sort of goes along with the book. What is the "goal" of our civilized society?

26 January 2011

life is what happens when you're not blogging...

I didn't get the tree put up until 5 days before Christmas. The boys reluctantly helped decorate. They think a Festivus pole would be a better solution. And then I hear from a another parent, "Chase and Oscar were so incredibly helpful. They put up the tree and set the ornaments while I wrapped presents." I am glad to know they pitch in where needed.

The celebrations started when Chase arrived home from Missoula. Good to see that son of mine. U of M agrees with him. We drove to Henefer to start the holiday off attending Grandpa Edison's party. (gotta love his name). Grandpa is 92. And as with it as ever. Sharp sense of humor.

We played "Minute to Win It" games. My aunts and uncles all laugh with "gusto." It is infectious. Look at all those children... the family tree is blooming. Wasn't it just last year we were the kiddos playing games and running through the church hide and seeking?

I'm going to explain the above photos. 1- Cousins holding cousins (no, they are not married - that happens on the other side of the family. It is just my cousins who are bro and sis holding their latest offspring). 2- My dad is texting, not Land. 3- The wall of men (seriously, was that stage going to fall without them) and (I am not cowboy but I come from cowboy.) I miss my mom so deeply at these gatherings, but I have this strong sense of well-being and belonging when I am around her (my) family.


Christmas Eve was welcomed with a feast. Family and friends. I perfectly executed the gravy this year. First time ever... my mom always did it before. Our Olsen four had watched "Pirate Radio - the Boat that Rocked" a few days before and so we played the "name game" that they played in the movie. My dad and Chase planned the guesswork and we took turns giving clues. Above you see Chase, and then Natalie (newly graduated and the freshest morning reporter for the NBC affiliate in Boise) and then Oscar (the beloved - he and his mom and brother Oscar joined us. Their house flooded just two days before - yuck, I know how that goes), and then Spencer, and then you see the whole gang, mostly. Miles and his guests were sick, and tried to relax in the other room, Land and Dallas went upstairs and conquered some video games. Norman Rockwell we aren't but it will do.

 Christmas morning is mellow when you have young adults. Come on already, wake up! Darren received a new dive computer and my dad's freaky toes didn't quite fit into the five fingers. Land received a new Monopoly board and so the afternoon was filled with real estate transactions.

 After Christmas THE FERGUSSON'S ARRIVED. It's always a jolly holiday with the good folks from down under. I'm telling you since I just saw them in July I felt like we were neighbors. They are a big part of our family. Our agenda then became skiing. Someone built a behemoth Frosty to greet us in the canyon.

The Land Man took us on adventures through the trees and deep pow. At one point I didn't know if I could find the rest of Ella.

Myself and Jenny looking good (ha). I was skiing all aggressive thinking I was susie chapstick and made a spectacular fall ending with my helmeted head smacking whiplash downhill. Unfortunately, it was right under the lift and the birds-eye viewing audience could not control their commentary and laughter. Soon we heard, "Oh, we're sorry, we didn't know you were old." The nerve.

Skiing is just too awesome. We had powder days, corduroy days, freezing days, rainy days, and blizzard days, and brilliant sunny days. Put in my time at Beaver and at Alta. Sigh as we watch the sun set leaving the resort