Sunday, January 31, 2010

coming through the rye

J.D. Salinger died Wednesday. I thought he had already died.
My first experience with Catcher in the Rye came by way of Mr.Wiseman, my 8th grade English teacher. He read it out loud to our whole class. I remember him snickering in parts (at the word fart) and breaking away from the text to ask us if we were ‘getting it’. Phonies, he snorted, the world is full of phonies.

In Junior High Honors English Kenz came home with a recommended reading list. Catcher in the Rye was listed, but optional as it contained, uh, mature themes, as in smut and sadness. In an act of bad or smug parenting I decided that Catcher would be a good book for Kenz to read. I didn’t, however, want her to read it by herself. I thought she needed guidance and discussion. So I read it to her. Out loud.

I remember reading it to her in snatches. Here a little, there a little, even while visiting Grandma Cook in Ogden. We sat on the couch and I whisper/read to her while ld and his mom were in the kitchen.

It’s true. I read Catcher in the Rye aloud to my young impressionable Kenz.

Don’t judge me.

We discussed.

"Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry."
~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 24, spoken by the character Mr. Antolini

Monday, January 25, 2010

Howard-approved Pinto Bean diet

I ran into Kathy and Dana at Walmart earlier in the month. We chatted for over an hour near the checkout stands. Such excitement, planning for an upcoming wedding. You knew it would come up in the convo: how to look good for the wedding pics, as in how to drop pounds fast. I told them I would send them the link to the popular Tim Ferriss diet:

Anyone brave enough to give it a go? I totally would, in a heartbeat even, 'cept, excuse me for saying, but what about all that gas?
If you have a suggestion on how to handle that, let me know.

I'm like all, liking this guy, sorta, you know?

He's spot on. Have you discovered Taylor Mali?

Speak with Conviction

This guy is awesome.

I tried to say exactly the same thing (albeit very ineptly) to my Young Women some years back in a YW activity "How to Give a Talk in Church". Wanted them to listen to themselves and pay attention to their speech patterns. Say what you think. Without all the filler ums and fluff whatevers. You know? he he he.

His website bio here:
Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet. Eloquent, accessible, passionate, and often downright hilarious…

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the apprentice

The last two days have been pretty busy around here. End result? This:

Wedding cakery is pretty labor intensive, and at times stressful. This year I hired an apprentice. She made things much more joyful.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

today's interesting read

Last night I oriented a very bright freshman gal to her new duties in RS. She is majoring in English, hopes to be an editor someday. Her speech and thoughtful demeanor (as in we discussed many books and what we thought was good writing) reveal her to be smart, unbelievably so. I enjoyed our conversation and then this morning in a bit of synchronicity I found this:

I am all red faced hoping that I didn’t ‘latinize’ my speech in an attempt to appear on equal footing.:)

Go have a read. It’s good, stick it out to the end.

From "Writing English as a Second Language":
So what is good English—the language we’re here today to wrestle with? It’s not as musical as Spanish, or Italian, or French, or as ornamental as Arabic, or as vibrant as some of your native languages. But I’m hopelessly in love with English because it’s plain and it’s strong. It has a huge vocabulary of words that have precise shades of meaning; there’s no subject, however technical or complex, that can’t be made clear to any reader in good English—if it’s used right. Unfortunately, there are many ways of using it wrong. Those are the damaging habits I want to warn you about today.

and then this:
Repeat after me:
 Short is better than long. 
Simple is good.

Long Latin nouns are the enemy.

Anglo-Saxon active verbs are your best friend.
 One thought per sentence.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Luke 8:50

There are times when I wish a testimony really were transferrable. Oh, I know it's for the best that it can't be, but I wish it could be, sort of like a stem cell transplant. I would be first in line to volunteer as a donor. I would love to have my stem cells of belief, my 'believing blood', drip into him. It doesn't work that way. I know.

Found this tucked in my journal pages today. Loved it then, love it today. (Sorry I can't quote the source, I am notoriously bad about that).

.. like Thomas and Mary and the disciples, we all live in moments and days and maybe even longer periods of unbelief. Those times when we don’t believe, don’t trust, don’t hope and lose faith. Even though we have seen the empty tomb, even though we have heard the promise of the risen Lord, even though we have accounts of eye witness testimony, in spite of all evidence to the contrary we live a life that reflects unbelief—afraid of being taken advantage of, afraid of being fooled, afraid of being hurt. We live as though Christ hasn’t died and been raised for us and as though—in fact—it all depends on us. That in fact, we have to save ourselves.

In those times the Savior comes to us, the risen Lord but with his wounds still showing and he says, I know your fear. I know your sadness. I know your pain. And I love you, when you believe and when you don’t, when you have faith and when you don’t, when you trust, and maybe especially when you don’t. The Savior comes with his wounds and calls us back to a place of hope, a place of faith, a place of belief—where we can journey faithfully—even with all our questions

The assurance and comfort you were asking for in our conversation last night, it's there, gb. It was there all the time. Like Dorothy from Oz, click your heels dear boy and go home. She had the ability to do it all along. So do you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My will. His power.

Not making any new year resolutions this go round. Nope. It's the same list nearly every year anyway. Instead I plan to explore why my weaknesses remain weaknesses. That's a new angle. Maybe self-awareness can help me overcome my procrastinator-avoidant-obsessive-neurotic soul with their attendant self-destructive behaviors.

Already this year (snort!) I've figured out my problem isn't the lengthy list of habits, traits and behaviors I want to change. No, it's really just two things: Vision and Discipline. I don't have much of either. Which is why I am adopting the following mantras:

Discipline is remembering what you want.


It's either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

Oh, and willpower. Could use a bit more of that, too. Here's an interesting read from the WSJ:

Willpower, like a bicep, can only exert itself so long before it gives out; it's an extremely limited mental resource.
Given its limitations, New Year's resolutions are exactly the wrong way to change our behavior.

Willpower, the grit your teeth kind, is not enough and the lack thereof not necessarily a character flaw. So, how does all this, discipline, willpower, and weakness connect exactly? And what happens when you find yourself facing a new year with the same old habits, behaviors and attitudes? The fact that they are the 'same old' should tell us they are bigger and stronger than we are. What do you and I do now?

I am thinking that willpower is really a surrender. I offer up my will to the Savior and he supplies the power. The Atonement, not the one I thought I knew, but the one which empowers, is what I need to learn.

How to lose one or two pounds a week

The science is irrefutable.

To lose one pound a week, each day you have to dispose of 500 unnecessary calories. To lose two pounds a week, each day you have to dispose of 1,000 extra calories. You can either cut them out of your daily diet or you can burn them off through activity. To attack from both sides is better. Duh.

A simple equation, really.

I was never very good at math.