Saturday, December 21, 2013

Still more with the treegazing

I managed to get out for my walk before work yesterday, and given how close we are to the Winter Solstice and what time my job starts, I was of necessity out before the sun was up. This meant that I was a little bit cold, but man! that sunrise was beautiful.

This shot (the one below) in particular makes me realize why some cultures have thought that the souls of trees must look like beautiful young women.

Snow and Ice

The public schools got a snow day about a week ago; it was LOVELY, and I got all my laundry done! Hooray!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Makes Me Happy

Some victims of the conflict in Syria are getting medical treatment in Israel.

I want to say of the people involved: now there are some manly men. But, of course, they aren't all men. At any rate, they are all magnificent, at least as far as their participation in this phenomenon is concerned, and deserve our quiet admiration (loudness would not serve their cause well) and emulation.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Seasonally Appropriate

I took the pictures today-- I'm uploading them today-- cool, no?
And, as always, a shot of what I see when I crane my neck upwards.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Smarmy? Yes.

It isn't smarmy until the end. But it's the best kind of smarmy! (FYI: John Lewis is a company in England.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


As is so often the case, a couple of these are from the BBC online-- the last is from NPR.

A Somali man takes his culturally-Norwegian children "home" (to Somalia) for a visit (this is in comic form)

The U.S. National Archives, involved in saving Iraqi-Jewish records

"Always Go to the Funeral"-- I always do, which means that I've been to more than a lot of other people my age-- this seems to do a reasonable job of explaining why such a practice is a good idea.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pictures, as promised.
Prettyboy Reservoir had some gorgeous ferns.


As my sister and I were driving to Prettyboy Reservoir, we were discussing the fact that when we were children, growing up in Utah and Idaho, we would sometimes read books that seemed a little silly to us. "You don't have to say that you run into a fox AND a lizard AND an owl all in one walk, you know; you don't have to lie to make the story interesting," we would say in our heads to the book. But after you've lived here for a while, you realize: maybe they really weren't making things up. It's a funny realization, to suddenly notice that something you thought was fictionalized wasn't quite as fictionalized as you had thought. But it's also nice to be around so much nature, which is why I whip out my camera when I see a lizard, or a chipmunk, or even lots of turtles in the same spot. They're still kind of amazing to me.

My chapel (i.e. the one I attend) is Quite Beautiful, as well as a little older than many I've worshipped at.

And, as promised, yet another picture of the Temple. I discovered that on the temple grounds, in the woods surrounding the formal gardens, is a nature trail; this was the one good shot I got from there.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I Support This

Sister Mary Martha (check out her blog, to the left) mentioned that Pope Francis has called for a day of fasting and prayer for Syria. It's on Saturday, the 7th, if you feel so inclined and read this in time. (If you feel inclined but don't read it in time, I hereby speculate that such late prayers may be like unto when I arrived late at Stake Conference* when we had ours last Spring: both more and better company than I'd expected.)

Last summer, I ran into a guy who had studied Arabic at the same time as me, just a couple of years before 9/11, and we both happened to mention that our one regret from that time of our lives is that we didn't go to Syria when the group that went from our University did their study abroad there.

I feel like weeping every time I read news of new atrocities. I'm not utterly convinced that dropping more bombs on them is going to help the situation. There really do appear to be creepy-bad people on both sides of this conflict. Do we just drop bombs on both sides until yet another faction emerges, one that we feel we can support?

But praying, you know, that I can support.

Anyway. Pictures soon (the temple yet AGAIN, and a cool lizard, and a little bit from Prettyboy reservoir, which is kind of a weird name but really gorgeous place). Also, I'm not sure whether I'm hopeful or hopeless, but I'm starting a new blog, with neeflings. Stay tuned, as it were.

*I tried to find a succinct, accurate explanation of Stake Conference, but was unable to without more searching than I'm up for, so here it is: Mormons are assigned to smaller congregations, (usually) called wards (300-500 people, normally, I think), and then wards in turn are grouped into larger units called Stakes-- often compared to a Catholic Diocese**. Most Sunday meetings and other church activities are held at a ward level, but every six months or so, the entire stake gets together for a Stake Conference, often with meetings held on a Saturday night and a Sunday morning. When I arrived late at the Sunday morning meeting feeling all ashamed for not being together enough to be on time, I found that lo and behold! I was in, as mentioned, excellent (friends... leaders of the ward... ) as well as numerous company.

**Catholic Dioceses, which I know of almost exclusively for purposes of comparing them with Mormon Stakes; I tend to think of them as "the Catholic version of a Stake." It's all about perspective.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

When you are accidentally funny, you do not complain

Or, at least I don't. I view it as a stroke of luck, if not actual genius.

The context: my current calling (job, unpaid-- most active Mormons have 'em) at church-- well, one of them-- is to first assemble, and then copy off the paper program each week. The other week, however, I was sick; below is the only-slightly-edited email that I sent out. After two different people told me, unprompted, how funny they thought the email was, I realized I should just go with the flow and recognize the gift of an already-written blog post when I see one.

... I am sick, so someone else will need to copy [the program] off. Don't you feel lucky that we got it done early this week?

To whomever copies it off, this is how I outsmarted the copy machine last week: I used the regular tray instead of the bypass tray for the 8 1/2 x 14 paper.

And now for the rest of the instructions:

First: I am sick and tired and not editing as I normally would, so seriously, read everything because I may have hidden some important detail in the middle of an unimportant paragraph. Also, my deepest apologies.

You can either get the paper from the shelf highest, to the left, and closest to the window (as you are facing the window); or, you can just get some more from the clerks' office (under the counter that faces you as you walk in).

You access the regular tray by, as you are facing the copier, reaching down to the lowest tray and pulling it out. It should have at least some 8 1/2 x 11 paper in it; take that out, then adjust the paper-holder-thingy (you have to push the tab on one side while sliding it in the other direction; slightly complicated, but you'll get the hang of it) until it is ALL the way out, and it should be ready to accept the 8 1/2 x 14 paper. After you push the tray back, the copier will give you a pop-up window that will say something like, "Wait... did you just put 8 1/2 x 14 paper in my tray 1?" and you will say "Confirm," and hopefully you will be good to go. When you are done, of course, you will need to reverse this process.

I normally make about 85 copies. I also normally make at least one copy first to make sure that it isn't doing anything funky. If it starts doing funky stuff after the 85 copies have started, you 1) yell at the copy machine (HIGHLY effective, I assure you), then 2) push the red "stop" button, to the right of the main screen and 3) look at the three buttons on the left side of the main screen; the middle one should be lableled "job status;" if you push that, then select your job, then say "delete," that should finally make it stop.

Our copier is also highly enthusiastic once it gets going, so you will want to pull out the thingy that prevents every third copy from [going] spat on to the floor. There's a little hole you can see, on the end of the place where the copies come out (sorry about all this technical jargon), and if you stick your finger in it and pull, the thingy should come out and pop up so that you don't have to mess with babysitting the copier while the copies come out.

Don't forget to trade the paper out again. Besides the fact that forgetting to trade the paper out will waste perfectly good legal-sized paper, other folks making copies will probably be interested in having their copies coming out normal-sized. So don't forget.

Clear as mud? Excellent. If you get stuck, you can ask [Ward Clerk] (what I usually do); or, if you really want, you can call me ([555-555-5555]). I warn you, though, that my definite plan at this point is to still be sleeping off The Cold Of Death, so I may be a little groggy. No guilt, though.

Also, you could just go to Staples. It should cost under $20 if you do the copies yourself, and you can print out from the internet there (I think...), and there will be a helpful employee there in case you get stuck. Just bring the receipt to the clerks' office and you can get reimbursed.

Afternote: now that I re-read this, I can see that there really are funny bits. I think that what happened was that I was feeling terrible about having to pawn this whole process off on someone who had not done battle with the copier before (I'd lost a 20-minute fight with it sometime in the three weeks before this email got sent) and so I was trying to lighten the load with a little humor. Either that, or writing about a non-cooperative copier just brings out my funny side. You pick.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Random Memories

Today, being fast and testimony meeting, of course someone had to bring up pies-- and talk about them at some length. But the connection she made was a good one-- that food often helps us remember our families.

Which got me to thinking about some of my earliest childhood memories. They are so vague that I'm not sure  they will be very interesting for you to read about, but I'll just see what I can do.

One of my earliest memories is of Papa walking me to sleep. I was small enough that I fit between his shoulder and his hip. I did not know this until a few years ago, but Papa actually likes opera (which I do not); what I have always known is that he was very interested in having a cultured family, which is why he bought a number of records at a yard sale from the "Family Library of Great Music," and it was these records which he would put on as he walked me to sleep. Well, that or Roger Williams. Anyway, I remember how safe and happy I felt, falling to sleep as Papa walked me.

Of course, I didn't call him Papa then. I called him "Daddy," which is what most American children call their fathers when they are little. We started calling him Papa when we were all older and he said how cool he thought that would be (I think that Fiddler on the Roof had some influence on this).

I also remember picture day, which came once a year when Penny's had their picture sale. I remember Nana reminding me what it was, because we'd gone the year before. I remember a daisy breaking off as my dad was working on a flower arrangement, and him offering it to me to hold for the picture. I knew that the flowers from the shop were not toys, and I was hesitant to take it, but he pointed out that it had broken off on accident, and the stem was too short to use, so I took it, and somewhere  we have a picture of bald-me, age one and a half or so, holding a daisy just like the one I remember, wearing the dress I remember. I remember the buttons, at my shoulders, being about as big across as one of my fingers. I remember that it was a pink corduroy dress, with each cord being about half as wide as one of my fingers. Years later, I found the dress; the buttons were only an inch across each, and the cords were only normal size. When you are small, everything really does seem larger.

I remember walking with my mom to get the pictures taken. There was a brick wall we would pass, with ads painted on it; the one I remember was for Levi's jeans, and it was of giant feet with the big toes jammed into the two legs of the jeans. How this was supposed to convince someone to buy jeans I couldn't imagine, and I still can't, but it was a fun picture to look at. 

I also remember that next door to the flower shop lived an elderly lady whom we called "Aunt Carrie," who was the reason why my older sister's first word was "cookie," and who was the one who introduced me both to danish butter cookies and to caramel. I did not know until many years later the story of why Carrie Nygar was friends with my family, and I don't have time to tell it at the moment. Perhaps I will tell it later. But if you have Papa handy, you might ask him.

Oh. And I remember, as I got older, watching Nana roll out piecrust between two sheets of plastic wrap. So it comes back to pie after all, I guess.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Proper Spring

So, since our brief flirtation with Summer, Spring has properly arrived! And the air conditioning (in the house) is fixed. Life is good.
The above is from my walk yesterday.

These are from my walk today-- I wasn't walking to get the car, but just walking, so I picked a route that went mostly through woods.

I realize that there must be a limit to the number of flower pictures you guys want to see, but I couldn't resist a "parting shot" from the hyper-local (= in the court our townhouse is in) cherry blossom festival we have every year. It's hard to get over how beautiful these are, every single spring.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Summer has arrived, suddenly and swelteringly. Two Sundays ago, I realized that I really was going to have to dry-clean my extra-warm coat, because the weather just wasn't warming up enough to let me keep wearing my "spring" coat. Two days ago, I realized that both the house and the car air conditioner were broken, and that this could not wait a couple of weeks (until the end of the mild spring weather and the beginning of the hot summer weather) to be fixed, because Summer is here.

So, I used to try to keep this blog cheerful but not-Pollyanna(/smarmy), but I felt like I started slipping at the end of that last post, and today I am hot and tired-- exhausted, really-- and still Trying To Be A Good Person, so I am going there. You have been warned.

I am so thankful that I live in a time and place when air conditioning is A Thing! Because, if it wasn't, then this is how hot my house would be all summer. No-- it's probably the coolest it would be. Also, same goes for my car. I betcha back in the days before air conditioning was A Thing, people had clothes that they didn't sweat through before they even left the house for work. Either that, or it was (perhaps) much more socially acceptable to arrive at work having already sweat through their clothes.

I am thankful for my jobs. I am thankful that I get to use my brain at work, that I like both my boss and my coworkers (at the job I love), and that only one of my approximately five part-time jobs is one I sometimes hate. I'm even glad that I sometimes hate it, because it is part-time enough that it doesn't make my entire life miserable, but it is miserable enough to remind me that this is no way to live, that I need to be Looking For Real Work.

The tulip is  from our front yard. Normally I try to take not-washed-out pictures, but honestly, this is sort of how things look/feel right now. I don't know if you can tell very well, but that tulip-- the third in our yard (the rest haven't turned from green to their proper colors yet) has a couple of wilted/brown petal-edges. The heat is, actually, a dry heat-- it's only sweltering if you're inside the non-air-conditioned house (or car), feeling thankful that all the sweat you're giving off has a chance to do some good. We have a fair few Spring flowers that have made their appearances; many of them are wilt-ey; a few have begun shedding petals already. We also have not a few trees still bare from Winter, not quite caught up to this weird Summer-comes-in-with-a-bang thing.

I am thankful for my computer. I am thankful that I have a piano in my Living Room, that it is tuned (basically...), that I get to play it almost every day. I am thankful that I found my camera! And that I found the gift card that dear friends gave me for Christmas, which I thought I had inadvertently thrown out. And for food. And for naps. Of which I should probably try to take one, now that the morning air has finally cooled our house down a bit.

(And for a freezer that works, even when the air conditioner doesn't. Sleeping with an ice pack clutched to you like a beloved teddy bear is definitely the way to go when your room is hovering between 80 and 85 degrees at night.)

And also that the air conditioning tech person is coming today, and that I don't have to leave for work until 2:00, and that (s)he can come before 2:00. And that there are funds available to fix it.

And now I'm taking a nap.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Best Romantic Advice

Good advice tends to fall into two categories: either so specific that it is of no use in any situation other than the one it was originally intended for, or so general that it is hard to figure out how it might apply to any specific situation.

This advice falls into the latter category.

And here it is: Show True Love. Or, put in other words, Be A True Friend. If you like another and they don't like you: be a true friend. Give them space. Be kind, but don't assume that that is going to lead to any particular results. If they like you and you don't like them: be a true friend. Be honest--I've had talks a few times with girls who thought that they were being "nice" when they didn't break up with a boy, because they didn't want to hurt the boy's feelings. My question was always: when do you think this is going to be less painful for him? After you've broken off an engagement? After you've been married for a year? But also: be kind-- no character attacks. No true friend would rip on another's self-worth on top of breaking their heart.

And still another way of putting it (thank you to Immanuel Kant for this phraseology) is to say that you should treat others as ends unto themselves. This sounds really weird until you think about the expression "a means to an end." Using things as a means to an end is fine: you take a class as the means to get to the end (or, ultimate goal) of getting a degree. If you use a person as a means to an end-- if, for instance, you suppose that one person a) can and b) should meet all (or even most) of your social and emotional needs-- then you are treating that person badly. People are not roads to be walked on to get to your ultimate goal. They are people, and as such they deserve to be sought out and associated with for themselves-- or, left alone, because they prefer to be and you are willing to respect them.

For me, I cannot claim (yet) that following this advice has produced a boyfriend, or even likely prospect of one (though I can cite numerous stories in which it comes shining through-- like the ending sequence of Pride and Prejudice). On the other hand, I can tell you with certainty that when I have managed to keep it, this advice has made my life happier, more peaceful, and overall more worth living. After all, even when the one I currently have my eye on wanders off to more likely prospects, I am left with something I get to keep: an improved character.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wish you were here...

Spring, that is. It's too cold at the moment. I don't miss the allergies, though.

The truth of the matter is that I don't like that tractor trophy enough to want to see it every time I look at my blog. So here's a flower from outside the church, from last spring. (I didn't blog it yet, did I?)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nana's workmates know her only too well

Nana invited me to go with her to her work party in December, which is why I was present when they handed out individualized "awards" to everyone. This one was so appropriate that I embarrassed myself by shrieking in astonishment.
Can you read it? It says, "Most likely to get a degree... just cuz."


I buyed a new compluder last night!

And yes, I am so excited about it that I am talking in 4-year-old-ese.

It should be delivered by the 27th. I could have chosen to pick it up at the store, but a) I am too lazy, and b) picking it up at the store would have gotten it to me at most three days earlier (and that's assuming I could have gotten to the store as soon as said compluder arrived, which is not a guarantee), and c) shipping was free, so there you have it.

Also, just in case there is anyone in my near connections who has not needed to be cheered up in the last month (and who therefore has not had me already tell them this): there was a goat cheese fire in a tunnel in Norway

Aren't you-all glad I have internet access, so that I can bring to your attention such essential information?

Monday, January 14, 2013


I was talking to my friends Moses and Zipporah (you know these are pseudonyms, yes?) last night-- in my usual way, which is that I chatter on about my life and the silly or sad things that happen to me, and they are sympathetic or laugh according to the story. I was talking about character traits I might try to improve upon. "You are both good listeners," I said. "I am not such a good listener. I've made a sign for myself that says 'JUST LISTEN',' but I don't know how much of a difference it has made yet." I thought for a moment. "I'm a good babbler, though!" They were both gracious enough to laugh at this. "But I've never put it on a to-do list."

Zipporah sometimes has such excellent ideas. "Put it on and then cross it off," she suggested, and that is what I shall do.

Thursday, January 10, 2013