Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Kingdom of Heaven

Each fall in church we have the Primary Sacrament Meeting Program. The primary children sing the songs they have worked on throughout the year, and give little mini-talks about what they have learned.

AND each year, for the few weeks of practice beforehand, their teachers and leaders get gray hairs and freak out that nobody can hear the singing, that they mumble all the words to every song, they are so close to the microphone that their tonsils may be in danger and nobody does their part right. And, every year, it comes together so beautifully that there must be angels involved--and it proves that miracles do really happen in real life.

Today was our Ward's program. I was heavily involved in the planning and preparation stages. Serious Doubts occurred.

It was so beautiful I cried. And, as always, I remembered my friend Scott Ellsworth's poem:

xxv. Of Such
Carly spills the salt of the earth all over the pulpit.
Little Josh tells us we ought to have “face.”
The microphone hits Mary on the head,
After she mutters the main theme
Into the unhearing wood of the podium.
The eleven-year-old boys stand tight-lipped
And glowering, their hands in their pockets,
Desperate to hide behind one another,
While the four- and five-year-olds
Push their way forward to wave
Frantically at their moms and dads.
Little Hunter Boyd sniffles loudly as he speaks,
Informing us solemnly that we believe in being
Chased by an elephant and in
Hauling the ammunition of Paul.
When the chuckling fades,
Little Sister Jennifer shouts her solo,
The chorister having asked her
To sing a little louder.
The children’s hands, tall grass for pioneer prairies,
“Waving gently,” whips instead like a hurricane
Blowing six different directions at once.
Emily, whose mother emphasizes enunciation,
Opens her mouth too wide and bites the microphone.
The fidgeting children rise at the chorister’s prompting,
But all at different times,
To follow with clear but untrained voices
Their leader’s guiding hands:
Every other gesture, though, a heartfelt plea
For quiet from the smaller,
For volume from the taller.
Natalie shrilly begins her talk for the third time,
Followed by Taylor, who tearfully mumbles
A tale of which only the word “prayer”
Can be distinguished by his proud parents’ straining ears
Sister Ochoa’s class somehow gets mixed up with Brother Mitchell’s,
So we learn about baptism before we hear about faith.
The nine-year-olds laugh their way through
Their one-line explanations of the steps of repentance.
And little Max Beamish throws his sign—“Forgiveness”—
At little Sister Smith, who loudly demands that he be spanked.
Three of the Ten Commandments are apparently
“Thou shalt not kill,”
And the four-year-olds—still and small,
And all but silent—merely whisper, all unheard,
Into a microphone too high to catch a word.

And the Spirit rolls forth like a flame of fire
From the podium to the farthest row,
Filling the chapel with the mighty rushing
Wind that is the Voice of God.

Scott Ellsworth —1997

This is my version of William Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence and Experience. It’s gone through about six revisions since its first incarnation long ago.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food for thought

My cousin Dedra posted this picture with the title "Have you been to the temple lately?"


My dear cousin Vanessa tagged me, so I am responding!

1. What is your coolest scar and how did you get it?
I don't know if it is cool or not, but I have one about 2 inches long on my forehead (in my bangs) from an incident with a sharp edged cupboard when I was two. So, for my whole life, every time somebody did my hair, they tried to use it as my natural part line, which makes my part come out somewhere near my right ear.

2.What do you want to do before you die?
TRAVEL. A lot.*
Also knit a cream colored woolAran sweater --which means I have to learn to knit. Again.
There are a lot of other things, but I forget them quite often (like right at this moment I can't recall any of them--but it is always exciting and amusing when I do get a brainstorm and think "Oh, yes, that is definitely on my list!).

3. What is the best book you have ever read?
Is this a trick question?
Which kind of best book?
Best ever?
The scriptures. The Old Testament has the greatest hero stories ever. The New Testament helps me know the Savior in a personal way. The Book of Mormon contains all the answers to life's big questions. The Doctrine and Covenants helps me know and recognize the voice of God the way I can read the words of a dear friend and hear their voice.

I can't even pick which one out of those is my favorite. My children and my seminary students always mock me, because I frequently declare "this is my very favorite!" and they chorus "you always say that, about every one!" It is true, I do.

The list of non-scriptural books is MUCH too long--even for categories (favorite board book, favorite books in a series with more than 5 books, books with over 1000 pages, books with no words...see the list gets LONG in a hurry!)

4. What is your all time favorite dessert?
See, this picking just one thing is not good for me. I am very fond of good cheesecake, creme brulee, chocolate truffles, brownies...I really like food!

5. The food you wish would be blown from the face of the earth?
I am not a fan of watermelon. Or any other melon, for that matter.

6. Coolest person you have ever met?
Also, a very long list! I know lots of people who have enriched my life in MANY different ways.

7. Person you miss most?
My mom. She is definitely in the running for #6. She was wise, and loving, and a great mother. Also, crazy, spontaneous, creative and a catalyst for change.
And I have never known anyone else who was so good at "enjoying the journey"--both literally and figuratively.

8. Favorite childhood game?
Most people probably answer something normal about "Clue" or "Candyland" or "Monopoly"--but my sibs and I NEVER played normal games. My favorites almost always involved me being in charge and bossing everybody else around.

*There are very few places on the earth that I wouldn't go if given a chance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trick AND Treat

I sewed SmallDaughter's halloween costume today--and, may I humbly state that I am a costume genius! It really turned out super cute! It's Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. which is her favorite movie (Mike is her second favorite character, but I can't figure out how to sew Roz!).

In early September, I was called in for a meeting at her school, because, basically the fact that she is taped into all of her clothes was freaking them out. Now, I have been trying to deal with "CSP" (Compulsive Skin Picking) for years now. When I say I have tried everything, I am very serious--everything. Trust me when I say gloves and tape are the most livable solution. Anyway. I told them that they could untape her during school--sometimes she doesn't pick when she is busy and having fun. However, when she is bored or frustrated--oh my!

Last Friday, I got a note home from her teacher. She has informed the nurse that the tape is truly important to SmallGirl's health and safety. They have tried velcro. They have tried sweat bands. They have tried other stuff. They give up.

Huh. Told you so!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I now have something exciting to check every single day of the week!

Monday--a new episode of Girl Genius
Tuesday--we get BOTH a new episode of "The Guild"
and "Castle" comes out on Hulu (I can't stay up late enough to watch it on ABC--it doesn't start until 10:00 here--way past my bedtime!).
Wednesday--new episode of Girl Genius
Thursday--the new edition of the Greensboro NC Rhino Times comes out with "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything"--by Orson Scott Card (It's my favorite form of gambling--sometimes it is just local stuff, that I live too far away to enjoy, BUT SOMETIMES it has great information on books, movies, music, etc. that I almost always enjoy--some of my very favorites have come on his recommendation.)
Friday--new episode of Girl Genius
Sometimes, I catch up with
Darths and Droids

And I also check Cake Wrecks
and Epbot most days.

Yes, pitiful, I KNOW. (I think I just figured out why my house looks the way it does! I mean, other than the stuff SmallDaughter just dumped/poured/scribbled/chopped up!).

Two Things

First Thing: I posted a couple of pix of the Blueness, if you check out the older post.

Second Thing: My dear friend brought me a cool old book of Romance and Beauty, which has a poem that I LOVED in high school, but forgot in the intervening years. I really love poetry, especially older poetry, written by people who knew what they were doing* (first clue--it actually rhymes--and makes sense, and isn't stupid. OK--three clues!)


I wanted to share this (in my humble opinion) sock meltingly romantic poem with you.

The Look

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

Sarah Teasdale

Ahhh, sigh.

I am simply an unabashed romantic. I can't help it.

I really like Sarah Teasdale's poetry, even the stuff that is not romantic--but she is VERY good at romance (especially the rather wistful, melancholic stuff).

* "Modern" poetry, and "Modern Art" are both subjects that make me FROTH at the mouth. It is NOT bold or clever to try to find new ways to offend people--trust me, 4 year old children have been doing it ever since potty words were invented. AND you aren't modern if you are copying the same things people have been doing for 120 years.

There are some FABULOUS new artists--but the !@#$%^&* "modernists" have gotten people so fed up with the whole idea, that nobody is paying attention anymore.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feeling BLUE

For those of you who had a hard day, and are feeling down in the dumps, and wondering "how could this day even get any worse?" I have two words for you:

Methylene Blue

Now, for those of you who aren't current on their dyes and stains, Methylene Blue is "a heterocyclic aromatic chemical compound with the molecular formula C16H18N3SCl. It has many uses in a range of different fields, such as biology and chemistry." (Thanks, Wikipedia!")

Two of it's common uses are in microbiology as a culture stain (it is similar in its multiple levels of usefulness and and it's potency to Gentian Violet), and for aquarium owners to cure certain fish diseases (much like Gentian Violet kills yeast infections).

Both Methylene Blue and Gentian Violet are beautiful shades of their respective colors, and both of them stain like the dickens!

Enter SmallDaughter.

We had (for undisclosed reasons) a large (6 oz.) bottle of Methylene Blue stored high up in a kitchen cupboard (the cupboard that used to be over a refrigerator in a former kitchen arrangement) to keep it safe.

We don't anymore.

HOWEVER--on the bright side, my ugly kitchen linoleum tiles (and some cupboards) are infinitely more exciting, and my bathtub has an exciting "denim and indigo tie-dye with toeprints" motif. It also produces the most beautiful Caribbean blue bathwater imaginable.

PS--for those who are wondering, Methylene Blue IS NOT the same thing as Methyl Blue, and is not effective for certain dramatic scientific experiments. So, save your money. Darn, darn, darn.Just sayin'.