Monday, April 25, 2011

Nanny

When I was little, my great grandmother, Nanny, functioned as my grandmother. It worked quite well because my mom needed to take care of her aging mother, I needed a grandmother, and she needed a little girl to dote on. Nanny raised two girls in the forties and fifties (my mom always says that her memoir will be titled We wore curlers to bed because today's generation just doesn't get it). When it came to grandkids Nanny had 7 grandsons, and always wished she had a granddaughter.
My middle name is Grace, after Nanny. My physics teacher calls me Grace because, "when I found out her middle name was Grace I just thought it was so ironic that I couldn't let it go". Nanny always said about the name, "what a stupid name. Grace." I happen to like it. I like that I have a name that means more than just a name, or a bible character.
My mom always says that I truly am Nanny's granddaughter because I like shoes. I like shoes because you can always find a pair that are pretty. It's really hard to have an unsuccessful day shoe shopping. Nanny liked having shoes. She would never buy one pair, she'd find a pair that she liked and then proceed to buy them in every color they had at ZCMI. 
Once, when we went out of town, my mom convinced Nanny to take care of Lucius for a week. We were all a little tense as to how it would work, because Nanny could hardly handle four year old Sam, much less a cat. And yet, when we went to pick up Lucius, Nanny had become dear friends with her. We even took Lucius back to visit a few times.
We used to go on outings with Nanny all the time. We probably went to Cowboy Grub at least once a week. We'd go pick her up and take her up there for scones covered in honey. One of my most distinct memories of Nanny is her insisting, in her late eighties, that she could walk the several blocks home from lunch. I remember her standing on the street corner and my mom yelling out the window to make sure she'd be okay. Nanny was rather indignant and made it home. 
Sometimes, Nanny and I would go on our own outings. I remember getting cookie dough ice cream at K-mart. My first piece of real jewelry was a gold locket with birds on the front that Nanny bought be a few months before she died. She bought my cousins and I hundreds of Laura Ashley dresses. When she died, I inherited her china - a pretty set with gold edging and pink flowers on the edges. 
I remember visiting Nanny with my mom in the care home a week or so before she died. We went to this little cafe and my mom ordered a BLT. I thought that was disgusting because I hate tomatoes. Eventually, with my seven year old attention span, I tired of sitting at the table and went to watch the giant television which was playing "the proud family", which was an exceptional treat because we didn't have cable at home. Eventually my mom called me that it was time to go, and I was rather angry because I wanted to finish the episode. I had a fit, and that was the last time I saw Nanny.
But in my closet, I still have the huge fluffy sheep stuffed animal with plaid bows on it's ears she gave me the last Easter before she died. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Laugh Out Loud

I dare you.
I just found this quote from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. I had all but forgotten it, but I dug it up and it still makes me laugh.

I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)

I want to have friends like Anne Lamott.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A very large mountain

I can describe the look that will be on your face in about 4 seconds. It's a mixture of "you realize how much work that is going to be, that is an enormous mountain, good luck training for that and you're really lucky." I can describe this look because I get it every single time I tell someone what my summer plans are:
Oh, I'm going to climb Kilimanjaro.
See, you've got that look on your face, don't you. Unless you already knew. Then you're just rolling your eyes.
Yes, it is a very large mountain
 Climbing this mountain is causing an enormously large amount of stress in my life. I started training the first week of April, so I've been going to the gym four times a week for 3 weeks. And I hate it. Maybe I'm a little bit over my head?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Journal

I'm a compulsive journal writer. I just love writing in my journal. I don't write any of that "this is what I did today" junk. My journal has no plot. But it has lots and lots of feeling. There is something beautiful about the methodical examination of one's life through the written word. Also, I love that feeling of slow and steady progression as I fill up a journal. But few of my journals ever get filled. There are several reasons for this. The first is that friend once told me to start a new journal when you start a new chapter in your life because it's very therapeutic. Since I don't plan chapters in my life according to how many pages are left in my journal, so I have many blank pages. The second reason is that the person who got me started journaling told me right off the bat that when you get tired of a journal, you just get a new one, because other wise you don't journal as much as you really want to. The third reason is that I refuse to buy a new journal until I'm done with my old one. That whole having a pile of blank journal thing doesn't work for me, and neither does having 18 journals each for a specific purpose. I work with exactly one journal at a time. I would like to introduce you to my current journal which I started about 2 weeks ago:



It's kinda fun right? This journal is kinda a milestone as far as my journal history goes. First, it's big - 11x9''. So sometimes I get one day on a page and sometimes I get two and sometimes I get one and a half. I like the way it flows, and that I don't feel pressured to fill the page. Second, it's not lined. This is rather monumental because it's my first unlined journal. The pages are thick, off white, handmade and lines would ruin them. This journal is turning out to be the most organic journal I've ever written. You can totally tell my mood based on the size and straightness of my handwriting.

So that's my current journal epic. I bet you didn't know how important journaling is. Dear reader, you should write a journal. Start with a goal of once a week and if after a couple months you haven't found the beauty, I'll reimburse you for the money you spent on the journal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April

April is an awkward month. The awkwardest if you ask me. (Awkwardest is an awkward word). I know what you're thinking, how can an entire month be awkward? That doesn't make sense. Don't worry dear reader, I'm here to enlighten you.
The primary reason April is awkward is the schizophrenic Utah weather. The other 11 months of the year you know what the weather will be: January will be cold and June will be hot. For Iffy months like October, May and March if you peak out your window and/or look up the weather report you can pretty much know what the weather will be that day. But April is crazy. It can go from snowy to sunny to raining to apocalyptic. There's no way to dress for all these situations! So you end up in these awkward outfits like a sweater and scarf when it seventy-five degrees and sunny outside or flip flops and shorts when it's snowing. And the rest of the time you're worrying that the weather will change and you'll be dressed entirely wrong.
April is also awkward because there are so many birthdays. I can't keep track of all my friends/acquaintances/people I like who have birthdays in April. Even if I could, I certainly can't afford to buy them all presents or take them all to dinner or anything like that. So you end up in these terribly awkward situations of missing wishing happy birthday, giving presents to some but not others, and/or getting cake for one one birthday person.
April has April Fools Day. This can be awkward if you get pranked and don't realize it, fail at a prank, or overreact. It's awkward to start crying or screaming because of an April Fools joke. It's equally awkward to be planning a prank and get caught, have the prank not be funny, or have them not do it. And what do you do if you catch someone doing a prank? It's a little sad to call them on it, but you don't want to ruin their fun or make them feel stupid.
April only has 30 days. Writing April 31 on a school assignment is awkward. No assignment with April 31 written in the top left corner ever got an A.