Monthly Archives: May 2008


I love Fridays. It’s the end of a week–and I work hard (usually) and really look forward to things I want to do over the weekend. The other thing I really like about Friday is that we almost always go out to eat. My very favorite thing to get is the vegetable plate at the Akropolis: broccoil, cauliflower, lima beans, carrots, and potatoes all boiled and then covered with oil and lemon. Yum. Served with pita bread. Double yum.
I once was eating lunch with someone where I had gotten broccoli, lima beans, and brussels sprouts and she said that she didn’t know anyone ever ate any of those things unless they had to. What?!
So this weekend I am going to:
Finish reading Atonement–it is so very very good that I will be happy and sad at the same time when I finish.
Mow the lawn if it doesn’t rain.
Go grocery shopping.
Clean out a room to house all of the new boxes of stuff that will arrive on Monday.
Figure out a way to get the family of squirrels to abandon the home they have found in our attic (Paul said to me this morning: “That squirrel is mocking me.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but there was somebody on TV at that moment who had a goatee, so I thought he was saying that the dude’s beard was somehow mocking him. I don’t know if that’s any stranger than that he thinks a real squirrel has it out for him). Greg had a friend in high school with a goatee who used to say, “You can’t get the girl if you ain’t got the squirrel.”
Take a very long bath and try to get my back to stop hurting.


There are two tons of stuff heading my way

The week in Utah went really well, but it was really hard–both physically and emotionally. My sibs are great–what nice people. I’m glad I’m related to them. It was really hard to throw things away that my dad had saved–and yet it was impossible to keep everything. I will be the keeper of the genealogy and many of the family papers–about 15 boxes of them.

Now comes the really scary part–literally two tons of stuff is now in South Chicago and will be arriving at my house on Monday morning in the handy “relo-cubes” (ABF you-pack cubes that are 6x7x8 and get loaded onto a big truck by a very cool three-wheeled fork lift that can get itself up and down from the truck). Where am I going to put all this stuff? Sarah will get some things–books, fruit dryer, table and chairs, pie cabinet, dishes, and more books. Liz will get a pie cabinet, two brass rubbings, all of my mom’s brass rubbing equipment, and some dishes. Patty will get a couple of chairs, a lamp, a box or two, and a futon. That leaves me with lots of stuff. I need to get rid of the things in my house to make room for them.

I also need to plan to live forever so that nobody will ever have to clean out my house…but I don’t think that can be arranged–I just need to take REALLY good care of myself to at least delay the inevitable.

A Hard Walk Down Memory Lane

Later this weekend I leave for Utah to address the monumental task of removing all the things my dad owns from his house. When I was there for the funeral a couple of months ago now, I sat in the study and realized that I was emotionally attached to just about everything in the room–from the rock on his desk that served as a paperweight, to the pictures on the wall, to the books on the shelves. I think this will be a very emotional time for me–and my sibs. After my mom died, I brought home the bride and groom from the top of their wedding cake, the postcards she had saved, her recipe box and more. I have to say, I love the recipe box. I love to look at the recipes in her own handwriting and see the comments she wrote about who she got the recipe from and when it was served. I don’t think anybody in my family would argue that my mom was a particularly good cook–but she did like to collect recipes!
So next week a big truck will deliver something called a “relo-cube” that is 6x7x8. And I think I will probably want to stuff it to the gills with things that remind me of my dad, except that relo-cubes probably don’t have gills. I know I will feel disrespectful getting rid of anything! Wish me luck in this difficult process.

My scary coin collection

My coin collectioin isn’t scary in and of itself–it’s me that is scary. I am going to get new cabinets in the kitchen, so I’ve been pulling out drawers. I pulled out one, and underneath it, right by the bricks of the wall, I saw a blue coin book–the kind that you put pennies in–one from each year. I was really excited, because I was thinking, “Wow! I found somebody’s coin collection–maybe it’s valuable! I’ll sell it and it will be worth lots of money! Yeah me!” Then I opened it up and saw the name “Barbara Hart” in a child’s handwriting. It was the eeriest feeling, since that used to be my name so very long ago. And it took me a few microseconds to realize it was my handwriting, my name, my coin collection, and that I must have put it there and forgotten about it. I could not remember putting it there, but I must have. How very weird and scary! So then I looked at my coins and I remembered how I had collected them little by little and how my dad would go to the bank and get me rolls of pennies that I could look through. The ones for 1945 (made out of steel) were in little packets in mint condition–those I had bought with my allowance. So I got excited again thinking maybe they were valuable. But guess what? They are only worth 49 cents apiece. I’ve saved them for 48 years or so, and they are only worth 49 cents. So I’ve decided I’ll hide them somewhere else, then I’ll forget where I put them, and when I find them again maybe they’ll be worth 54 cents!

The Pressure Is On

I am invited to a dinner party tonight at the home of a colleague. Normally, this would be something I would be looking forward to–and to a certain extent, I am. The problem is, that Dawn, the host, e-mailed me with these words, which I shall cut and paste here:
“I am so looking forward to talking and laughing with you and you are a VERY important part of the after dinner entertainment, so I want you to be in good spirits.”
This is making me feel a little uncomfortable–like I HAVE to be in a good mood because she is depending on me to entertain people. It actually has the opposite effect on me (since we all know I am contrary)–it puts me in a bad mood and makes me not want to talk at all.
When I was a young teenager I remember my brother Richard talking about a girl in our ward who was really beautiful, and in fact, a beauty queen. He said, “Just looking at her makes me frown so that I can counteract her big fake smile.” That’s how I’m feeling.

Visiting Teaching–helping or enabling?

I recently got home from my yearly radical feminist Mormon retreat feeling energized and happy and got a call from one of the women I visit teach. Here’s the transcript–She is “M” and I am “B”:
M: What are you doing during lunch hour tomorrow?
B: I’m not sure—probably eating lunch. What do you need?
M: Well, you’re going to be mad at me.
B: Where are you?
M: Ohio.
B: Thinking—isn’t Ohio where that ne’er do well crack addict lives? The one that spent your $35,000 in back disability payments and then left you? Well, M, what’s going on?
M: I need some money for bus fare to get home.
B: You’ve spent all your money for the entire month?
M: Yes.
B: Did you pay your rent before you left?
M: No.
B: I can’t give you any money.
M: Why not?
B: I’ve loaned you about $700 so far and you’ve never paid me back and you have just made some really bad decisions. I just don’t think it’s good for me to help you this time.
M: Well, don’t call me back then, because I don’t want to hear about it.
B: OK—goodbye.

She later called and asked for $40 for gas money and I told her no again. I guess I finally reached the point where helping turned into enabling—and probably went way past the point. I look at the past 4 years and figure I haven’t helped her one bit, except possibly it’s better that she never went to jail—but I’m now not really sure.

So, on a scale from 1 to 10, one being the least likely and 10 being the most likely, how likely do you think it is that this relationship can or should be saved? Anyway, it was glorious to have a couple of days to leave my real life behind.

Big Brown Captures Victory

I opened up the paper over the weekend and saw this headline–Big Brown Captures Victory. Apparently a horse named Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby. Here’s the thing. I have named my recliner, and my recliner’s name is “Big Brown.” My Big Brown of the chair variety is a leather recliner. I know, I know, it makes me seem ridiculously ancient to have a recliner, and absolutely bizarre to have named it. But the penchant goes way back. I named a tree limb in my back yard when I was a kid–the name was “Butter Ball.” I used to love to sit there and pretend I was riding a horse. And now my Big Brown has the same name as a horse. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Giddy Up!