Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reading Like Uncle Paul

Since my friend and former English teacher passed away this summer, I've been reading a lot more.  As a matter of fact, since her death, I've averaged two titles a month. Some were classics like Brave New World  and (in her honor) Heart of Darkness.

Half of what I've read has been Shakespeare plays.

I've remembered how much I enjoy Shakespeare and his iambic pentameter. The power of his storytelling literally gave me a nightmare one night! Thanks to Titus Andronicus, which includes racism, political intrigue, revenge, forbidden love, nearly a dozen murders, a rape, a tongue cut off, 3 hands chopped off (from two different people), and a conniving Goth queen unknowingly eating her two adult children, I spent a harrowing night trying to outrun two guys after my appendages!

And I've discovered that Truman Capote may be one of the most brilliant writers of all time.
I'm hoping that all this reading will rub off on the boys. I write content for the blog of one of my clients, Wackadoodle Books - an online children's book seller - and I know the importance of letting kids see you read.

What I've only recently realized is that those kids don't need to live in your house.

Whenever I think of my Uncle Paul, my Theia Sophie's husband, I think of him with a book. I don't think I ever saw him in his home when he wasn't reading. Now, it's true, I can't tell you the title of a single book I saw him reading while I was around, but he was always reading. And if it was OK for Uncle Paul to like to read, it was OK for me to like to read.

So maybe catching me glued to a book or play will have the same effect on my boys.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

We Can All Just Get Along

Friday, I had the honor of attending the YWCA's Leader Luncheon with members and supporters of the Daughters of Penelope (a wonderful Greek women's organization.) Along with recognizing six very deserving women for their commitment and contribution to the community, the luncheon offered a keynote by former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, who addressed compromise, collaboration and bipartisanship.

Now everybody knows that when it comes to politics, I am ensconced steadfastly on the left.  But there was a time where the discussion, friendship and collaboration Sen. Snowe highlighted was a part of my political life.

In 1984, my neighbor Jed W. Wasden was elected to the Utah state House of Representatives. As liberal and staunchly Democratic as I was, Jed was conservative and Republican. Yet earlier that year, he accepted my offer to go door-to-door together to increase voter registration in our precinct, where we both served as our respective party's captains.

Later that year, after his election to the state House, Jed called and asked me to be his intern. I had changed majors and declined, suggesting someone else may need the internship more. He was persistent and asked me to be his unassigned aide instead.  At that time I was the Democratic vice chair of the district he represented.

During that 1985 session, I was on the Hill almost every day. Jed would tell me what had happened in committee meetings, and we discussed various bills. Did we always agree? No. In fact, one day, Jed asked me to push the voting button for him. It was a bill that I believed unjustly hindered unions, so I refused - telling him that unless he wanted a "Nay" vote, he was going to have to press the button himself.

But on other issues we found common ground. It wasn't all that unusual to see Wasden had joined one or two other Republicans voting with the Democrats.

One afternoon, I came to the House floor and Jed took me aside to chat. With a charming twinkle in his eye, he told me that one of his colleagues had earlier that day accused him of being overly influenced by that, "damn liberal kid." The colleague was none other than Frances Hatch Merrill, sister of Sen. Orrin Hatch.

It was a great day for both of us.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

And the Church is Still Standing

Today Niko debuted as an altar boy. 
He did a fabulous job. Father said he was a natural, as if he'd been doing it his whole life.
I'm just grateful the church is still standing!
(Sorry about the quality - phone pics from a ways of..)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chef Gus

Tonight Gus made dinner.  From start to finish, he was the chef. And as we sat down to eat his spaghetti with homemade sauce, caprese salad, steamed asparagus, and cucumber and carrots on the side, it dawned on me: at age 11, he's already cooked more in one meal than many people ever do in a lifetime.

Step-by-step, dinner is served.

Step One: Use fresh ingredients - including peppers from the garden.

 Step Two: Get ready to saute!
Step Three: Add the "meat:"
 Step Four:  Add the tomato sauce.
Step Five: Get the water ready.
Step Six: Add the spaghetti!
 Step Seven: Cut the tomatoes and peel the cucumbers.
Step Eight: The table is set.
As his sous chef, I may have guided him just a bit.  But I also reaped the rewards!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Yup, I took the plunge! BRRRRRRRR!!!!