Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

For Family Home Evening on Monday, we each filled out a list of 100 things we were grateful for. I was trying for some shock value, and thought the kids would freak out at the idea of 100 things, but they said, "OK, and started writing. I had to stop them. "Wait!" I said. "There are categories!"
We really only had to think of 10 things in each category.

I got the idea at the Red Headed Hostess, though I changed several of the categories. Here are the ones we used:

1. Things (Items) you are thankful for
2. People you are thankfrul for
3. Things people have made that you are thankful for
      *This was hard to explain, but I meant books, movies, songs, art...stuff like that
4. Memories you are thankful for, distilled into a word or two
5. Things about yourself that you are thankful for
 6. People who have gone before you that you are thankful for
7. Things you have a testimony of that you are thankful for (things you know)
8. Things that have happened this week that you are thankful for
9. Things about today that you are thankful for
10. Things about your family that you are thankful for

The Red Headed Hostess has a very cute paper you can print out for your 100 things.

I had thought of sharing some of the highlights from the 600+ things we came up with, but I changed my mind. Instead, I want to tell you how grateful I am for my family, and the great attitude they have when  I try out silly projects like this. I am incredibly blessed by their goodness every single day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Long Beach, California, Part 4

I got home late last night, and let me tell you, my trip to California already seems like it happened ages ago. So quick! Before it fades completely, here are the highlights from the last two days.

1. Roger's conference ended at noon, and I knew that whatever we decided to do, it would involve a lot of walking, so I didn't do much...a little hot tubbing, a doomed-from-the-start search for something to watch on TV, a few minutes of reading. And boy did I call it.

Our day went like this: Roger wanted to go to Huntington Beach, which was 1.5 hours away by bus, with one transfer. The concierge gave us one set of directions, but the bus driver told us he was wrong and gave us different directions. She was wrong, and we found ourselves stranded. I knew exactly what to do--wait for the next bus and continue on our merry way. Or take the route the bus driver thought we wanted, and see what happened next. But this was Roger's one chance for some fun, so, knowing exactly what he would decide, I let him take over. We walked. It was an adventure--a "let's see where this bike road takes us", "let's see where what's over this next hill," "darn it's too late for lunch, but here's a granola bar to tide you over until we find a place to eat dinner" kind of an adventure. We ended up on Seal Beach, and even found the delicious Crema Cafe again (it was closed. Sigh).

My favorite part of the adventure was watching a huge group of pelicans dive into the water over and over again. Plus the beach was awesome, although a cold wind was blowing. My least favorite part of the adventure was a muscle spasm in my left calf for the first leg of the journey. Luckily it went away before our walk home. 

2. Halloween in CA. From what I saw of Halloween in CA, it consisted of children going from store to store with their parents, and getting candy if any happened to be left. Then they all went out to dinner at a restaurant. Those poor kids--I wondered if they had any inkling of the bounties my own children were getting here in Maine.  Speaking of which--it was harder than I'd thought it would be to be away from my kids for Halloween. I MISSED THEM. It sounds like they had a ball though.

3. The next day we had to be up at 4:00 so we could get to the airport. We got on the plane without incident, and it wasn't until we landed in Chicago that we found out that shortly after our plane took off there was a shooting at the airport and the whole thing had to be evacuated. So glad I missed that, and so glad that we were able to make our connection and get home on time. I was terribly anxious to see my family, and although of course we could have survived without seeing each other for awhile, I'm more grateful than I could say that we got home a little earlier than I'd even expected. And you know what? I think they missed me too.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Long Beach, California, Part 3

After the excitement of the first four days, there really isn't a whole lot to say. For the past two days, I've kind of settled into a routine. Still there are a few highlights:

1. The Long Beach Used Book Store: Woah. That is not the name of it, but I can't remember the actual name. But wowza. What a store. I was there for at least two hours, possibly longer, and I still didn't make it through every shelf. Every book in the store costs $1, and I swear the store was the size of a grocery store, and every nook and cranny is filled in a moderately organized fashion. It was beautiful. The stack of books in my hand grew steadily larger and larger, but I had to thin it out again before I left, because there was no way to get all those books back to Maine. In the end I bought six books...and two of them we already own. (Oops.)

2. Public transportation: It took a little bit of time for me to work up the courage to use the free bus system. But it turned out to be fun. I met several people, including one elderly woman who was bundled up in a coat, gloves and hat, who told me about how there used to be a real roller coaster that went across the street in the spot where the bridge that looks like a roller coaster is now, and how her sister used to use it, though they took it out before this woman was a teenager.

Public transportation opened up my life. I mentioned in my last post that I had hurt my hip. It isn't terrible, but the muscles do seize up after a mile or two of walking, and most of the places I want to go are a ways away. So now, I can take the bus part way or all the way one way-- I still end up walking six or seven miles a day, but I am getting so much more accomplished, and I'm not limping (quite so much) during my evening walks with Roger.

3. The ASDWA convention always tries to have a dinner somewhere cool, and this year, they had dinner at the Aquarium of the Pacific. We were able to tour the whole building after hours, and then had a lovely dinner. It was nice, though the conversation at my table was too filled with words like "parts per billion" and "capacity" for my taste.

4. Yesterday, for example, I finally found the beach. It's a weird thing. No one mentioned it. When I would ask people where the nearest beach was, they would all give me directions to Huntington Beach, or Seal Beach. I was beginning to think that Long Beach, California had no beach. Maybe they named this city Long Beach because they Longed for a beach? But it was right there, about half a mile from the Aquarium, past the marina, and completely unlabeled. I spent the afternoon there yesterday. It is in a deep harbor, plus there is a breakwater, and so the waves were very small. While I was walking through the water, I had one of those rare moments when I feel like the two extremes of my personality meet in the middle and I feel utterly relaxed. The world seems so clear and simple in those moments, and every thought I have seems so profound. Why don't those moments last? Perhaps it takes an ocean.

5. Last night we went back to that Spanish restaurant, this time with most of the people who are here from New England. There was no flamenco dancing this time, which is just as well, because our whole group was utterly focused on the baseball game on the television screen. It was the last game of the world series, and I had a ball. There were no mentions of the EPA or new regulations or parts per billion last night. It was all about the Red Sox, and the final game in the World Series. (We won!)

The man who sat across from me regaled me with stories of growing up in the Bronx and knowing the Yankees players. His sister learned to ride her bike in the halls of a hotel they would stay in, and once she even got to babysit for one of them--an important one, one whose name I even knew, but I can't think of him now. After his stories, I was half a Yankees fan myself. (Shhhh. Don't tell.) Luckily her wasn't the kind of fan who rooted for the Yankees and anyone playing the Red Sox. We were all on the same page with cheering. We weren't in a sports bar, so the restaurant was very patient with our cheering. I think they were bemused by the whole event.

6. Roger mentioned to the woman next to me that I had just published a book, and she promised to buy it, and then she told me about her boss's new book. As she spoke, I realized it was the very same book whose advertisement had caught my attention on my kindle this week. It is the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel General Fiction contest. She said he wrote it on the commuter train into Boston on the way too and from work, and that no one even knew he was a writer until he won this contest. What a small, small world this is. (BTW, the book is called It Happened In Wisconsin. I plan to buy it when I get home.)

7. Finally, I am missing my children, and I won't be sad to get home tomorrow. When I used to go with Roger to an occasional conference, the break seemed absolutely necessary for my health and sanity. But I'm out of that intense parenting phase, and although I'm having a good time, being here doesn't feel critical, and being with my kids does. But I'm glad I came, for two main reasons. First--I got to meet Sabrina, which was so incredible. Second--too often my relationship with my husband is the last thing on our priority list. Although he's been gone a lot, we've still had a lot of time together too. So it is absolutely worth it. (I am still so sad about missing Halloween though).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Long Beach, California, Part 2

1. On Sunday, I took a taxi cab to church. It was only about five miles away, so I was absolutely flabbergasted when the fare came to twenty-five dollars. Holy cats, that's a lot of money. I was busy texting when I first got in the car, so the fare was already up to fifteen dollars when I finally looked up. After I finished coughing and sputtering, I managed to ask how much longer it would be before we got there. We were almost there, he said. Still, those last two miles seemed to last forever as I watched the fare creep steadily higher.

2. The congretation was Spanish speaking. I didn't hear one word of English the entire time. It was awesome. I've often heard people say that you can still feel the Spirit in sacrament meetings, even if you can't understand the language, and it was definitely true for me. It is very comforting to recognize the pattern of the meeting, even if I didn't understand the language. They did a confirmation and (of course) the sacrament. Then they did the children's presentation. In LDS congregations, once a year the children ages 3-12 do a presentation about what they learned that year. They sing songs, give talks, and have speaking parts. So I recognized all the tunes to the songs. And kids are adorable to watch, even if I don't understand the language. I was moved to tears more than once.

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP 3. Luckily I didn't have to take a taxi back to the hotel. Instead (drum roll please) Sabrina West picked me up. Yes, THE Sabrina West, famous author and ornithologist. She picked me up and we went to the Cafe Crema for lunch. I had this amazing panini with roast beef, mozarella and jalepenos. It was, by far, the best food I've eaten for a long time. Then Sabrina took me to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in search of the elusive coastal sage brush. Not just any sage brush. It had to be the exact right kind, because our next book is set in Carlsbad, California, and I need to know what it looks like there. Luckily, Sabrina is an expert. We also saw an incredible variety of birds, and Sabrina knew ALL their names. (I'm hoping she'll send me a list, because, as she knows very well by now, I have a memory like a sieve.) There were terns and pelicans, even a harrier falcon and a several plovers. There were some curlews and merganzers...I know I'm forgetting a bunch, but it was a beautiful place to get to be in as I got to know this woman who has become such an important part of my life. Actually, it didn't feel like I was getting to know her at all. Her personality shines very authentically through the internet, and I feel like I've known her for a long, long time.

4. Did I mention that I got to meet SABRINA WEST? I'm not certain I'm giving this part of my trip the weight that it deserves. We talked plot lines for quite a while. It was a blast.

5. All too soon, our visit ended. I had to be back to the hotel by 5:00 because the board members at Roger's conference were all going to the Queen Mary for dinner. We went, and it was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to be aboard the boat. The dinner was good, and the company was wonderful. Roger works with some awesome people. When it was over though, I think we both felt like we'd made a mistake. It was still the Sabbath, after all, and it felt like we'd missed something important.

6. Monday I went to the fitness center, where I must have done something painful to my hip. I spent the rest of the day shopping, which entailed miles and miles of walking, and as I walked, my hip got more and more tender. I tend to ignore stuff like that though, or to attribute it to the aches and pains I wouldn't have if I was in better shape.

I spent way too much money and probably need to return a few things, since I have a very limited amount of luggage space. Afterwards, we went to a reception, and then watched the Red Sox win the fourth game of the world series!!!!!!!! It is so much fun to watch those games on the east coast, because it isn't after midnight when they end. So then Roger wanted to go for a walk, and how could I say no? He'd been at work while I played all day long. Besides, I got to try out my new shawl.

7. We walked to a section of town I hadn't seen yet, and I've GOT to go back there today. It was beautiful, with walking trails and the ocean (but no real beach. Is there a beach in Long Beach?????) And there was a HUGE used book store, and all the books were just a dollar each. I may have to buy some more luggage. :)

But as we walked, I became more and more aware that this pain in my hip wasn't just some phantom ache from exercising more than usual. By the time we got back to the hotel, I was limping pretty badly. I took some aleve and went straight to bed, where I tossed and turned and finally got back up. I got in the bathtub and put the hottest water I could stand in, and it helped to relax my muscles, and made me very sleepy, so I was able to get some rest, even though my hip was still sore.

I'm about to go sit in the hot tub for a while, and then I'm going to go ask for some ice. I'm hoping to get in a lot of fun stuff today, but I might have to explore the wonderful world of public transportation instead of trying to walk everywhere today.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Long Beach, California Part One

I am with Roger at a conference in Long Beach, California. On the one hand, I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time, but it was also really hard to leave my kids. I see this world through their eyes, not mine, as a quick glance through the pictures on my camera attest. Why else would I have taken picture after picture of billboards? But I am glad I came. My relationship with my husband is nearly always the relationship that I let slip when life gets crazy, and I'm so glad I've had this time with him.

We've been here since Thursday, and here is a quick run-down of some of my memories.

1. Motorcycles on the freeway. Sabrina tells me what they are doing is perfectly legal, but that has got to be the scariest thing I have ever seen. Sheesh.

2. Billboards. There are very few billboards in Maine--I'd like to say none, but I might be wrong. I'm pretty sure they are illegal though, because if you are looking at a billboard, you might not notice one or two of the trees, and wouldn't that be a tragedy?? There are plenty of billboards in Utah though, and many of them shock the socks off of me. I haven't seen many pictures of bikini-clad women here, which is a lovely thing. Instead, I see billboard after billboard advertising movies! And TV shows. It is so cool. Ender's Game! Catching Fire! Once Upon A Time In Wonderland!

3. We went to the LA temple on Friday. It is huge! I haven't been to the temple since May, and such a feeling of peace overcame me as we drove onto the temple grounds. The funny thing is that it is on Santa Monica Boulevard. The only things I know about Santa Monica Boulevard come from that song, and they are not at all pleasant. Such a contrast. Afterward, we drove down to Rodeo Drive. Even though I hate to shop, I got filled with adrenaline just driving past all those incredible stores. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who is addicted to it.

4. The next day we drove back to Santa Monica and went to the pier, which is a little like a carnival. The most memorable thing that happened there was that we watched the fishermen. One of the cormorants ate the bait from a fishing pole, and the fisherman had to drag it through the water, and then pull it up onto the pier. It was awful! He didn't seem phased by it though. He grabbed the bird by the head and gently tugged the hook out, and then let the bird go free.

5. It was pretty cold that day. We decided against getting into our swim suits, and instead walked along the beach for a long, long time. I should have known that eventually I wouldn't be able to stop myself from getting in the water, and as we walked I slowly got deeper and deeper until by the time we returned my pants were soaked. They also got a rip in them, dangit, I am hard on pants.

6. That evening we went to a restaurant with the ASDWA board members. It was a Spanish restaurant, and I had the paella. The amusing thing is that it was decorated for Halloween, and the waiters and waitresses were dressed up for Halloween, but it was such an eccentric little restaurant anyway that I didn't notice. I thought the scary looking monster over our heads was just part of the decor. Finally I noticed a waiter in a pumpkin suit, and it all came clear. I spent the rest of the evening readjusting my impressions of the whole restaurant. It was a noisy place, especially when the flamenco show started, but it was a lot of fun. Between the show and the TV with the Red Sox game going, I never ran out of things to be interested in.

7. I forgot to mention that Albertsons's sells our favorite kind of taffy--the kind we can usually only find when we go on vacation to Utah! My kids will be SO excited.

8. Also, that night I lost my phone somewhere. I keep hoping it will turn up. I'm going to call the restaurant today. But yesterday I had to walk to Walmart and buy myself a cheap phone, just to tide me over.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Editing Two Books Back To Back

Next week, I will officially be a published author. Alchemy comes out on October 11!

Today I have been up to my eyebrows in edits for another book that I hope to publish in January (Hidden Magic. SO EXCITING.)

It's crazy, but I feel like I've forgotten how to live my life.
I used to be so much better at balance than I am these days, and yet I was never really very good.

 Next week I'll be starting to write the sequel to Alchemy, and I hope it is the only writing project I'll have for a while. I've got marketing and formatting and blog posts to write, but I've also got rooms to clean and children to enjoy and meals to prepare and gardens to get ready for winter, and garages to clean and the inside of a windshield I've needed to clean since LAST WINTER, but I only ever think of it when I'm driving and the sun shines just right and nearly blinds me.

I know this post feels like one great big run-on sentence, but it's a metaphor, see? For the editing process, which you should never do with two books back to back. That's a sure-fire recipe for insanity. Hopefully temporary insanity, because I'm almost done. Wish me luck! And forgive me for this bizarre post. Next month will be much better. Oh wait. That's Nanowrimo. Oh no...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Books on My Fall 2013 To Be Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten List on something bookish.  Click on the link above if you wish to participate.

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 To Be Read List

Vortex by S.J. Kinkaid.

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The Slayers by C.J. Hill

Do you like how I just slipped this one in here?
Alchemy by: Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse and Sabrina West
Publication date: October 11, 2013
Alchemy (Prophecy Breakers: Book 1) 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett
Men at Arms (Discworld, #15)

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park

The Get Yourself Organized Project by Kathi Lipp

The Outcasts by John Flanagan
The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles, #1)

Ever After High
There are a bunch of these short stories, one for each of the characters that
are in Shannon Hale's upcoming book. At least that's how I understand
it. I'm excited to read them all!
Ever After High: Ashlynn Ella's Story

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cover Reveal for Alchemy

"Do you want me to be dangerous?" he asked, his voice husky and low.
I gulped, and for a moment I was incapable of speech. But he was quiet, waiting. "No. I don't."
"Then I'm not dangerous at all," he murmured. His gaze moved from my eyes to my mouth. "You've never been safer than you are at this moment." I shivered as his breath tickled my skin. Our lips were mere millimeters apart when the sky shattered in a kaleidoscope of colored light. 

We didn’t know how much we had to lose until we were infected with magic. Sam was in love, Juliette was the main caretaker for her siblings, and Ana and her dad planned the best parties in New York. But we lost it all when we were shipped to Chebeague, an exclusive school for newly infected mages.

Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone.

We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.

Add to goodreads!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I haven't written one of these for awhile. There are a lot of reasons for that...I've been focusing on my other blog, and I never get to post on Wednesdays on that blog. Then I was working on a novel, and then I was figuring out how to market said novel, and somewhere in the middle of all of that I was wallowing in apathy from all the editing. But I love this idea, and I love this group, and so every month, as I visit my favorite blogs and read their IWSG posts, I've really wanted to join. But something else was holding me back. More on that later.

Being a writer is a weird, weird thing. First of all you spend so much time trying to keep yourself off the internet while you write a book, and then, when the book is written, you suddenly have to force yourself back on to the internet to do this thing called marketing. The potentially most fulfilling way to market is unfortunately the most time-consuming. It works though, at least that's what I'm told. That is to find a group of like-minded bloggers and help each other out.

At least from the outside, that's exactly what IWSG is.It's a group of people who found each other at the right stage of their lives and who have bonded tightly. They are the first ones to post comments on each other's blogs, they critique each other's manuscripts and promote each other's works and participate in each other's cool blog events. And then there are the rest of us--the ones who came a little late to the party. We still gain from being part of the group, and with a little luck, maybe we'll bond the way those first members bonded. 

It's the same with some of the huge blog challenges and hops I see. They've gotten too big to be as useful as they were for the original participants. And yet somewhere, out there, I know members of my tightly bonded group are waiting. Will I find them at IWSG? Only if I actually participate. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things--June 29, 2013

 This is a blog hop sponsored by Scribblings of An Aspiring Author. The purpose is simple: to celebrate the small things in your life.

Some small things worth celebrating:

I haven't had to worry about mowing the lawn/having the teenagers mow the lawn because it has done nothing but rain this week. It will soon be a meadow out there, but at least we've had a week off.

We're getting close to the end of editing our novel! And we finally agreed on a name: Alchemy. Sheena blogged about it here.

Along with millions of other people, Roger's flight got cancelled. BUT he got to sleep in a hotel. After years of trying to sleep in airport terminals, this seems like an unbelievable luxury. Life is good.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Grandma, Part 7

The notebook is missing!

I've had that thing for over a decade, and now that I want it, I can't find it. There was only one story left, so if it doesn't turn up in the next week or two, I'll get someone who lives near my grandma to interview her and write it down. It's a good one, and it's about my Uncle John, who has such bad luck it would be funny, if it wasn't always so awful. This one is called Uncle John vs. the Measles.

Sorry! Grandma, if your hand is all recovered, maybe you could write it all down.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Grandma Part 6

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

Did you work when you were first married?

No. I had a job when I got married but I never went back to it. I'd been working but I never went back to it.

Did marriage surprise you then?

I wasn't prepared for marriage. I didn't know anything. I had no brothers so I was very naive. I was too naive.

When did my dad come along? 

Two years later. I was married at 18, your dad was born at 20 and by then we'd moved here--your grandpa was out of the service and we'd moved up to Heber. I'm a city gal like you've heard. I had all the conveniences of everything. We had gas. We had lights. We had indoor plumbing. I went to Heber. They didn't have gas, they had a coal stove. They didn't have indoor plumbing. Oh...they didn't have anything. It was just like Grapes of Wrath. It was like going from 1945 to 1919 or something. It was horrible. So then we lived with his parents.

Was that hard?

Very hard cause I'm a night person. I sleep late in the morning. I still am a night person and they got up at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning, and his stepmother--your grandpa's stepmother, because his mother died when he was young. His stepmother--oh, she was friendly and everything, but there was no bonding at all. We'd get up at 4 or 5 in the morning, fix a big breakfast and then Boyd would go off all day long until lunchtime. Of course, as soon as breakfast was over--she had a big coal stove, you know, one of those great big ones and when breakfast was over she started preparing lunch cause usually ouy'd have a whole bunch of men doing chores together--they'd help each other, or I don't know...She'd make a big, big, big, big, big lunch. And I don't eat breakfast...still don't and I didn't then, and then this great big lunch that we'd prepared and then there were all these dishes to do and then dinnertime they didn't come in til dark. Oh...I was never so miserable in my life. So anyway, then I was pregnant. we used to sleep upstairs and they didn't heat the upstairs. It was wintertime and we had blankets up that high and I was cold and I always had to go to the bathroom. Oh I hated it. I wanted California back.

When did you move back? 

Right after Dale was born. We moved back to California after your dad was born and I was glad. But your grandpa wasn't happy. He missed the deer season and he missed all sorts of things. So we stayed in California for a year or something or rather, and he wasn't happy so we moved back to Utah and we build that little cinderblock. I said "I'm not going to move back in with your folks." We lived with them for awhile and then we built that little two room cinderblock. No bathroom. An outhouse by the chicken coop. we were there for a while and again I was unhappy so we moved back to California again and he became unhappy and we moved back to Utah again and then Steve was born. There's two years between Dale and Steve. So Steve was born. We moved back to California. I guess we didn't move back in with his parents while we were building the little cinderblock. We rented down the street a little bit. We rented half a house and we had a coal stove--a big coal stove, and I remember I had the two kids. Steve was just little and Dale was 2 years older. Dale was about 4 and steve was about 2 and Boyd would get up in the morning at 4:00. He'd get the coal stove going. Well, I couldn't keep that coal stove burning. I couldn't cook on it. I--the house was cold. I was miserable. He'd leave at 4 and I wouldn't see him again until late at night.

And I remember, one day I decided to go back to California. It was wintertime. I packed a suitcase. There was snow. It was wintertime and town is about--what?--5 miles into town? Anyway, I was mad and unhappy. I had Steve in my arms and Dale by the hand and the suitcase--he was helping me carry the suitcase and we were walkig to town to the bus depot. I remember Ken Ryan came by and stopped. "Where are you going?"

"I'm walking! Getting on a bus and I'm going home!" He talked me into staying--waiting til Boyd got home, you know. So  I went back to the house and he started the coal stove up again. Anyway, after that we moved back to California and we bought a house there in California. We had a house there and I planted all the trees and the shrubs. I planted ivy all around the mailbox. I planted a pine tree and I planted rose bushes all around. I'll have to tell you why. We had this cute little house, and back whe Dale was ready to start to school--we registered him for Kindergarten but we decided to move back to Utah and he would build--we had the cinderblock house still--but he said he would build a bathroom, which he did--we moved back and he built a bathroom on. And years later we went back--years later we drove past this house and the pine tree was about 20 feet tall and the ivy was all--I don't think people had done--all my rose bushes were everywhere. I remember taking a picture. Anyway, we moved back and Dale started school and we stayed and never went back to California again except to visit.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Grandma Part 5

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

My grandfather had just returned to port unexpectedly...

So he says, "Hurry! Meet me!" When someone comes home, I hop in my car--the little red Nash--my mother's car. I don't know what she did. She must've gone back to riding the bus because I had her car. So anyway, the day I had the date with this sailor I met your grandpa and we went to Yuma and got married. He came in and I met him and we decided to go to Yuma. Neither one of us could get married in California because we weren't of age. we were almost 18.

Were you still in high school?

No, I had just graduated. We got married in November so I graduated in May. And as we were leaving I said, "Hey honey, drive by the Plaza and let's see if I can find the sailor I had a date with." But we drove by the Plaza and there were 10,000 sailors and I would never...I don't know what I was thinking. How would I have ever found the guy that I had the date with? I mean there was 10,000 men and I would have gone down there...

Did you ever have to tell that tall guy that you were married?

No. I never did. Mother said--I just called my mother and told her that I just got married and she said, "To who?" That was the times then. Anyway, she said after we came home, "That guy that you had a date with called and wanted to know" and she said "I told him that you got married." So anyway, that was my love life. I called my mother, but your grandpa didn't dare call his dad. About two or three weeks later he finally called. I remember the first thing Grandpa Sweat asked me..."Are you LDS?" And I said "What is LDS?" I turned to Boyd and said, "What's an LDS?" I knew he was Mormon. He said, "Oh that's a Mormon," and I said, "No I'm not." but I've never known a more perfect, loving wonderful man than your great grandpa Sweat--Elmer Sweat.

So that's about it. Then I was married. We got married at Gretna Green's Wedding Chapel.

Did you love him? 

I did. I thought I loved him, but it was also the times. I had a boy next door all through high school that I loved as a high school girl. But he went off to the navy also. So I don't know--your grandpa was the first one that came back. But I wouldn't have married him if I didn't love him. All the others--other than the boy next door--all the others were just dates that I had--lots of fun and dancing and rollerskating and boat riding. There was a place where we rented boats. Most of the time we went on double dates with--I had two special girlfriends, Dorothy and Marsha. It was the 3 Muskateers, Dorothy, Marsha and me all through high school. We used to mostly double date or else just go alone. But you've seen pictures of it--all the soldiers and all the USO would go the dances and go--lots of fun. We did the jitterbug--I didn't get flung up in the air but...Frank Sinatra was my ideal. In face, I cried more for him when he died then Kennedy or any of them. You know, he was the one we used to drool over and I danced to Benny Goodman and all of the big bands.

All of the pictures you see during the war--they all went off to war and I don't know of any that got killed. My grandmother--your great-great-grandmother--my mother's mother had 5 sons and 6 or 7 daughters. 4 of her 5 sons were off in the war. She had 4 stars in her window. And each one was in a different branch of the service so all of my uncles, except one who wasn't able to go because he was color-blind--all of my uncles were in the service. So she had 4 stars out of 5. 

Did they all live?

Yes. They all lived. They all came through the war. Only one had to survive Hirojima. Uncle Leo had big scars down his leg where a mine blew up, but they all came through. None of them got killed in the war, and they all served in a different branch of the service. My cousin that was like my brother, he was in the service too so she had 4 sons and one grandson in the war. Ask me some more questions.

Hmmm....How long were you engaged? (Oh yeah, about three hours.)

I was never engaged. I just got married.

What was the precise moment that you knew without a doubt that you wanted to marry this person?

When I saw him and we just went off. He didn't have a ring or anything. In fact the ring that I had was one mother gave to Boyd to give to me. Cause you know he was in the navy. He didn't have any money whatsoever. We rented an apartment and lived with another couple and shared a kitchen. 

Was he gone a lot when he was in the service?

He was there, stationed in San Diego so it would be sometimes at night and sometimes just on weekends. He never got shipped out again. In fact the war ended right after we got married.

How much did your wedding cost? 

Nothing. I remember I got married in a light blue suit.

What was an average day like during those first years?

Boyd would get up and go to the ship and this other couple that we lived with--they were from Arkansas or something--well we would just...I remember laying out on the lawn during the daytime and waited til they came home at night. We took turns fixing dinner after they came home and when they didn't come home, I don't know what I did. Seems like they got to come home usually at night. They spent the day on the ship and then we'd wait for them to come home we'd have dinner and maybe got to a show, if we had enough money, which we usually didn't. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Grandma, Part 4

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

You'd never told Grandpa that you'd had asthma as a child?

I don't know really. I hadn't had any. I guess he'd probably known. I had a few attacks in California and then when I moved up here to Hever I didn'f have any--a little off and on I guess.

How did they treat it when you were little?

When I was little, as I remember I was in an oxygen tent quite often and then when I really had a bad, bad, bad attack I'd get a shot.

Did you have to stay in the hospital?

Yeah, I'd have to stay in the hospital although I don't remember too much other than that I know my mother didn't have money so she'd have to go to clinics. I remember hearing--my great Aunt Rose--who I was very close with for some reason or another. That's who Jayne was named after--Aunt Rose but she was my great aunt and her daughter Fern I was real close with--(and I heard them talking)...about everything. I remember they told me once--Mother, she was my mother's cousin so she would have been my 2nd cousin, but they were close, and I remember her saying once that she took my to the hospital with asthma, or the clinic or whatever--they were so full or something so we say and I could hardly breathe and they put me on a table and left me in the hallway. I don't know whether they were full up or just exactly what it was, but I remember her telling me that mother was out--anyway, when she found me, and I was laying there on the table with asthma and I couldn't breathe that she put up a big stink--boy, she just flew into a rage that they were doing that just because she didn't have any money and so forth and so on. Boy, she really--cause I guess Fern was with her or something. She said, "Boy, she sure got the nurses and doctors going" and I got put in a room. But she said "Oh she was so mad when she found out" that I was in the hallway lying on a table. Boy, Fern would say, there was doctors and nurses running around everyplace to shut that woman up and get that child taken care of.

So, my youngest memory is of riding around on my bicycle with my three Mexican friends and staying over at their house. In face that had a --Jean and Rose and I can't remember the other one's name--they had a cousin--his name was Dale--but he was older and he was so good-looking. I remember thinking, oh he is so good-looking, but anyway, I didn't name Dale--your dad--after him. I liked the name Dale, but it reminded me of him, and oh, he was so good-looking.

What modes of transportation did your family use?

Oh, we always had to take the street car. We didn't own a car when I was real young. Buy going different places, you'd get on the street car and go, and that was the main thing. When I was in high school, Mother got a red convertible Nash--really fancy--and I had just met your grandpa, Boyd and we took the car--she had just got it--we took the car and we were going to the beach and some guy in front of us put on his brakes and your grandpa slammed into him and mashed the front end of the car. He didn't even want to come back to my house. I don't remember what happened after that.

Your mother didn't let you ever use it again?

No, we drove clear to Heber in it in the middle of winter in a red convertible Nash and everyone wondered what had happened to your grandpa. They thought we were millionaires. A red convertible in February.

What was grandpa doing in California?

He was in the navy. I married a Navy man. Everybody was--all during my high school, that was World War II so everybody enlisted in the service. I mean everybody. Our whole high school football team went and joined the service. The whole team. My whole high school was during the war. We couldn't go to football games. We didn't have any activities because you had blackouts at night. At night time we put black curtains over the windows. You couldn't travel. Gas was rationed.

You met him during high school?

Yeah, I met him in about February I guess of my last year in high school. Do you want to hear all about it?


Like I say, it was during the war. All the boys except the ones that were 4F and couldn't get in--I mean everybody was in the service, so I used to go rollerskating with my girlfriends on Friday nights. Saturday nights we went dancing at the Paladium. Gene Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, all the bands played, so on Saturday nights we usually went dancing and Sunday we went to the beach. We would meet all the young servicemen. They were all young boysa just our age you know, they were 17, 18, some were iven 16 probably because they all joined.

Anyway, I met a guy rollerskating--I can't think of his name right now--and he introduced me--or he brought a friend for my girlfriend--and then the one I had gone with got shipped out--you know they only lasted for a little while--and then the one that my girlfriend was going with--he brought a friend for me and his name was Marvin--I didn't like him very well, but anyway I went out with him. He was from Oklahoma. He was an Okie from Oklahoma and I went out with him a few times and meanwhile I was going with other guys--I don't know, you just met them. But anyway, I went with Marvin, and prettya soon, Marvin got shipped out and then one day, knocking on my door was Marvin's brother and your grandpa. And so then I started going with Boyd, your grandfather. That's how I met him.

And my girlfriend started going with Marbvin's brother. She didn't marry hum, but anyway, then I started going with your grandpa, Boyd, and we went together, I don't know--a couple months. Then he got shipped out. So anyway, it was pretty serious, I guess. Everybody was serious, but I was still going with others, in fact, I met another guy, I can't even remember his name, Ibut I remember cause I'm only 5'3" and this other sailor--I prefer sailors. I went out with Marines, never went out with an army man. I went out with different marines and sailors and I like sailors best of all. But I was a good girl. Anyway, so your grandpa got shipped out and I had met this sailor. Where did I meet him? I don't remember if it was at the beach or a dance, but anyway, I met this sailor and he was 6'4" oh he was tall and good-looking. They are all stationed in San Diego and anyway, your grandpa had shipped out and I met this big, tall, good-looking sailor and so he said the very next weekend he didn't have a very long pass, so would I come down to San Diego and meet him. I said, "yeah. Where will me meet?" And he said, "Let's meet at the Plaza" They had a big plaza and I said, "OK, I'll meet you next Saturday." Well between that weekend and the next weekend, your grandpa called and they had sent him back to San Diego because the ship--the U.S.S. Klondike had to come back for some kind of repair....

To be continued.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Grandma Part 3

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

It's a short one today! My kids are waiting to be tucked in. We'll continue where we left off...
Boy, you did move a lot.

I moved a heck of a lot.

Where in California did you live?

Mostly around Los Angeles. East Los Angeles is where the high school was, which is--now, well you can't even get into it. It's the--There were a lot of Mexicans there when I went to school there, but now it's the hell-hole of California. East LA--been on television (this must have been transcribed around 1999, to give you some sense of what Grandma is talking about.) They've done lots of shows about it. It's a slummy area, and a scary area.

Was it like that when you were growing up? Oh no. I worked during junior high school, or during my school years, at W. Woolworth Company upstairs in the office about six blocks from home and I never thought about walking. I mean it was just as safe as anything was in those years. During high school I worked at W. Woolworth's. I was upstairs in the office and I helped in the office. I did the machines, you know, the cash registers and just general office work upstairs. I wrote to my boss for years and years after I was married--well, we exchanged Christmas cards every year. And all of a sudden I didn't get any Christmas cards from him. I mean this was even after your dad was born. So I worked up there til after I was graduated and I thought I just didn't want to work there anymore. I was tired of it.

So then what did you do?

I worked other jobs, but mostly office. I always did office. Even in high school I took mainly typing, shorthand and office practice and business correspondence. Then you didn't have to go to typical college or anything. In high school you decided if you wanted to go to college and you took math and all those kinds of things, which I didn't take...(At this point we start talking about other things for a while.)

When you were a child, what did you do for fun?

I remember one time--I don't remember what grade I was in. I had a girlfriend, her name was Jeanie and I had a bicycle--oh my dad had promised me a bicycle, but he didn't buy it for me, my mother did. I remember getting this fact I have a picture of me with Ray_______--the one my mother didn't marry, and a little Chow dog--Pheobe. I still remember Pheobe and the bicycle and the picture. And we lived somewhere near the big, big, big, big (of course it might not be that bit) but I remember they had the colloseum and the museum--it sort of reminds me of when I went to San Fransisco--that big park there--where they had all the different museums--Candlestick Park. Anyway I remember we used to ride around the Colloseum and go to the museum--go downstairs to get to the museum all the mummies and there was a flower garden. Anyway, I remember we used to ride around on our bikes for hours. We used to have three little Mexican girlfriends. Well, I had one, and she had two sisters. I stayed with them for sleepovers and stuff. Their mother used to make tortillas you know, and stuff like that.

(Right here there was a spot on the tape that I couldn't understand, but I do remember talking about how they didn't have any good tortillas in Utah for years and years, and how much she missed real Mexican food when she first moved.)

So you asthma wasn't triggered by exercise?

No. My dad had asthma, and I guess I inherited it that way. He had asthma and he used to smoke cigerettes. I don't know. I took the tests, you know where they scratch your back and the only thing that showed up was barley. You know, so I tried some--my mother tried barley soup and barley doesn't bother me. Cigerette smoke bothers me and dust bothers me terrible. I think probably a lot of stress at different times would bring it on. And I don't know about when I was little, but as I got older, stress brought it on. And then I was never allergic to horses--we had horses here in Heber, but when the horse would wheat--I could pet them and do everything, but if a horse sneezes on me, I would break out. And real sweaty horses. I didn't find out til later when that's all we had was horses, but they have to sneeze on me or be real sweaty. Anyway, now I pretty well don't have asthma, they say you outgrow it, which I thought I did outgrow it. I didn't have too much asthma when I was in high school and then I got it again after I was married. The first attsack I had in a long time your grandpa didn't even know I had asthma. I remember we had bought a house there in California--it was real old and smelly place and damp and I had an attack and had to go to the hospital and that was the first he'd heard of it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Grandma Part 2

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

Vaughan was a friend. He was an older man and she took care of him more or less. 

My dad--Larry--well, first of all he remarried a lady named Ida and they had a baby. I remember going to their house and seeing the little baby. I think my dad was a lady's man and a gambler. Anyway, they divorced and then when I was in about the sixth grade we were living in Vaughan's house and my dad came, and he was getting married to Ruby, and she had two children. My mother kept the two children--Buster and Marie while they went on their honeymoon, except they stayed for a couple of years. I'm not sure how long. I must have been in the sixth grade. Buster was only about three and he couldn't talk very well. We couldn't understand him very well, I should say.

Marie was about five and neither of them went to school. 3 & 5. Little Buster was so cute--well Marie was pretty too, but we remembered for years afterwards when we'd say "there is is" he'd say "did a bum". There is is. Did a bum. That was his "there it is." 

So mother tended my dad's third wives children, and then he was killed.

Did she come and take the kids? Yes.

Was that hard?

Yes. It was. Everybody was like--I mean everybody--friends and the whole family. Everybody just loved them. I don't remember her actually coming and getting them and taking them away, but she did. I must have been at school or something, because I don't remember her actually taking the kids, but I know we just loved them. That's just how your great grandmother was.

What special quality do you remember about your mother?

That everybody loved her. She made friends so easy. I mean my girlfriends, my old boyfriends--they were like her children and she lived her life for me. I mean she was always--that's all there was, just mother and I. But she made friends so easy. She made friends with anybody she met. She was an outgoing person. But, when she moved up to Heber--she knows more people in Heber than I ever knew living there for as long as I lived there. Everybody always liked her. I envy her. She was so outgoing and made friends so easy.

You know, she lived a pretty hard life. She was a waitress from the time she was 16 until she got emphysema when she was 80. She was waitressing right up until then. In fact, I think she said she was 13 the first time she waitressed. She was a waitress all her life.

Even in Heber? 

Oh yes. Even in Heber. The doctors and everything. Dr. Bogess. She was an outspoken person. She tells the story--Dr. Bogess tells this story. She worked at The Hub and Dr. Bogess and Dr. Jenson used to come in all the time and sit and have coffee for two or three hours sometimes and never leave her a tip and yet, "Hey! Bring me another cup of coffee! Hey!" So she said that after a couple of months of them coming in every day, finally she blew her top and she finally had it with him. She told him off. "You sit here and order me around!" Well, I don't know just what she said, but anyway, she called him an SOB right there in the cafe. She said, "You never leave a tip" and they were just dumbfounded. 

She got it off her chest and every time they came in after that they would leave a tip, believe me. And Dr. Bogess was a good friend of Boyd's--your grandpa, and he had to tell him--he didn't know that she was related to us, and when he found out, cause she told Boyd, she told us about telling doctor's off, and when Dr. Bogess found out she was my mother, he had to tell the story. "You know, I never thought about it til she told me. You know we sit here, and take up the table" and so forth. But he got a kick out of it anyway. And he came to her funeral. He said, "I'll never forget it. I was never so embarassed in my life! But it was true. It just dawned on me--she waits onus!" but anyway. that was the kind of person she was.

Do you remember the way she dressed?

No, not really. I mean, she was a waitress. Mostly in her uniform. She was just an average person. She didn't dress fancy and she didn't dress sloppy. She just dressed. Acceptable.

In California, did you live in just one home?

Oh no. I never lived in one home. That's what I remember most. We moved. We moved. We moved. We moved.

Did you like that? 

No. I had...I mean I had a wonderful, happy childhood. But I hated it. In junior hight I went to three different junior high schools. I was a very unhappy person at that time. Chianging junior high schools every time. I hated that. But in the sixth grade we lived with Vaughan when she took care of him, and then we moved. They build a new junior high school--Kearn's junior high school, and I started it, because I'd been to the sixth grade with all the kids and then we moved into the new junior high school. We moved a lot.

Were you still living with Vaughan?

We moved. She must have met Bill Gordon, her third husband, because I remember junior high as being with him. I was unhappy and I wanted to go back to where I went to sixth grade, and that's why in high school we moved back there. And that's whe we lived across the street from Vaughan and that's the place where I lived all during high school. That was the last of the moving and then I got married. But before that we moved and we moved and we moved.

 Of course, in the fourth grade I went to a private school for girls and it was wonderful! It was so much fun. I lived in a big dorm and that's where I first rode a horse. They had horseback riding lessons. It was a very private, expensive school.

How did you manage to get in? 

Well, mother worked two jobs. She worked two jobs and she'd come on weekends, but she couldn't afford it. The main thing too, I believe my aunt told me, cause I had asthma all this time too and I was in and out of the hospital. I'd have a trigger of allergies and get rushed to the hospital and finally the bills got so high, even though she was working and trying to pay off the doctor bills and school. She had to get two jobs in order to pay the doctor bills off and yet keeping me in school. That was in the fourth grade. Then she couldn't afford to keep me in that school any longer, and I stayed with my aunt and uncle that next year, but mother was always there. Even when I was in the private school she'd come and get me on weekends and we'd go to this place where they had barbecued spareribs which I so loved--with the little fingerbowls, which they don't have anymore, and then we'd go play miniature golf or something. So I was with her on the weekends, but I lived with my aunt and uncle for a while, and I have a cousin who is three days younger than I am. Ed is 3 days younger than me, so that's the only brother I have ever known, and he's in California. I was born on the 26th and he was born on the 29th. so anyway, I lived with them for a year and then I went back with my mother.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Grandma Part 1

Years ago, I sat down and asked my grandma a whole bunch of questions, and recorded the answers. I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you. If you are anything like me, you've heard a lot of stories, but they got so complicated I wasn't sure I understood them right. This is my attempt to understand the life of my wonderful grandmother. Enjoy!

Part 1: (speaking about her mother)

She could remember every telephone number, every address clear from when she was a child and I couldn't even tell you what my telephone number was before this home. As soon as anything's over, I forget it.

When and where were you born?

I was born in St. Louis, Missourri in 1926. I remember going back and forth because all my mother's family was back in Missourri and we travelled back and forth all the time (from California).

I went to Catholic school in the first and second grade...All my schooling was in California

What is  your first memory of your parents? Do you remember your dad at all?

Oh yeah. My dad, I guess they were divorced--I don't know just when. It was when I was real tiny, but they always remained friends. I saw my dad off and on.

What was his name? Larry--Lawrence Frank Zimmer.

You wanted to name my dad after your dad?

Yeah, I thought I would, except your Aunt Mina named her boy Larry, so I never did name one Larry, because we already had a Larry. But I remember my dad coming quite often.

Didn't he live in Missourri?

No. He was in California. He was a cab driver. They got divorced when I was real young. My mother packed up me, put me in a stroller, and she and her girlfriend hitchhiked with me in a stroller all the way to California when I was real young.


I don't know why, just to get to California. And then, apparently, she moved back to St. Louis and met her second husband, who was Daddy Mack. McMillan was his name. Clyde McMillan--met him. I had asthma and I guess she was told the asthma was too hard...Anyway she and Daddy Mack moved to California for me and I guess I was 2 or 3 or o4. I don't know. But apparently he couldn't find a job and he didn't like it or something or rather, so I guess she had to make a choice between him and me because he was her one true love, I understand. But anyway, he went back to St. Louis and she stayed in California. So anyway, that was the end of their marriage.

Did they stay friends?

Oh yes. She stayed friends with every one of them. When I went back when I was a teenagers, he came to visit. Oh yes, they stayed friends all of their life. He remarried. She even wrote--well she wrote to everybody, bue she even wrote and stayed food friends with his family and everything. They kept in youch more or less.

Was he like a father to you?

No, not that I remember very much, because I was so very young. I don't remember him very much. I was on 2, 3, 4 years old.

Did she get married again after that?

Then she had a boyfriend for most of my young years. His name was Ray ____________. She never married, but that was my dad for many years.

Was he a good guy?

Yes. He was an alcoholic. I remember they used to have quite a few fights, but he was good to me, and they were together for years and years and then I met him again after I was married. I can't remember where, but I remember meeting him again after I was married. He said, "I remember when I used to change you diapers," No. He didn't really say that cause I was older--5? Anyway, he was around most of the time when I was a young girl.

But she didn't ever get married again?

Yeah. Oh yeah. When I was in junior high school she married Bill Gordon-during my junior high school years. He was a quiet, moody man. We didn't talk much. He used to mostly sit and play solitaire if I remember right. He was a cab driver also. He was during my junior high years. He wasn't around much--he was either driving or sitting, but there were no problems he was just there. And then, after I got married, well, she divorced Bill, and he died, but right after I got married...almost immediately, she married Merrill Wise.

Was that in California?

Yeah, they're all in California. She married Merrill Wise and she was married to him for a few years. He ran off with some young girl and that was the end of her marriages. That was enough. She never got married again.

**** My grandma wanted me to add this comment: I must add that my MOM was a wonderful loving person. .Ask anyone who knew her!!! She always put me first thruout her life... She was always there for me... She had a hard life but with a smile.....She was truly giving, caring & loving...XXX***