Monday, May 28, 2012

An interesting read for memorial day.

It's rather lengthy, stick it out to the end or read it in chunks.

The first disadvantage is in the motivation to take on the intense and unremitting effort that is typically required to do great things. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of great accomplishment. Fame can come easily and overnight, but excellence is almost always accompanied by a crushing workload. Psychologists have put specific dimensions to this aspect of accomplishment. One thread of this literature, inaugurated in the early 1970s by Herbert Simon, argues that expertise in a subject requires a person to assimilate about 50,000 “chunks” of information about the subject over about ten years of experience—simple expertise, not the mastery that is associated with great accomplishment. Once expertise is achieved, it is followed by thousands of hours of practice, study, and labor.

The final profound paragraph:

Humans are ineluctably drawn to fundamental questions of existence. “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is one such question. “What does it mean to live a good life?” is another. The elites who shape the milieu for America’s high culture have managed to avoid thinking about those fundamental questions for a century now. Sooner or later, they’ll find it too hard.

Friday, May 25, 2012

hooray for birthdays

Happy Birthday in Chinese. Jiao said I got the symbols right. Whew. The lemon cake she requested and another pinata creation. Appropriate since she goes by 'the coolest fat panda'
Cake ablaze. She huffs and puffs and blows the cake down. :)
More fun. Maddie is wearing my robe belt as a scarf. Yeah, she's different, that one. :)
Oh, and ld entertained us all with his jumping magic fleas. Cate and Maddie were thrilled.
And this is why gift-giving to Jiao is a great thing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

happy birthday, dear girl

Somewhere, somehow, across an ocean away, this little China doll landed here. Plucked from the billions to bring energy, optimism, and light to all our hearts.
Everyone should have a Wong Jiao in their life.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

boom de ah dah, boom de aye

Stewart Falls with some of the family.
Shout outs to: Jiao for braving two snake sightings. Cate for hiking nearly 4 miles without whining. Janny for going and surviving an attack of big D. Brig for carrying Maddie on his back - The whole stinkin' way. Maddie for not going the bathroom while on Brig's back. Mackenzie for having my back. When I stumbled or staggered, she was there. Me for finally doing something I wanted to for years.
I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills. I love the flowers, I love the daffodils. I love a fireside, when all the lights are low Boom dee ah dah, boom dee ah dah Boom dee ah dah, boom dee aye Boom boom boom

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

happy birthday, mother

Ethel Rose Clifford. 1930.
Mother cajoled her kids into performing all the time. If someone came to the house, 'hey, bust out the accordian/piano/guitar/bass fiddle and play them a tune'. This pic was taken at one of the Agee's sons wedding reception in Blythe. Look how happy (ha!) we are and why was I still wearing dorky socks? Mother had on the coolest dress. The sleeves were so...mod.:)
This pic taken right before Cliff left for the LTM, in 1966. It's in our motel room. Dad, obviously took the pic. Mother again is stylin' out. Come to think of it, Jeff is too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I can live for two months on a good compliment. --Mark Twain

Yesterday, sitting in RS before the meeting began, the President gently tapped me on the shoulder and handed me this:
She whispered, “the sisters did this in a Relief Society activity a couple of months ago and I keep forgetting to give it to you”. And then she was off to the front to of the room. I glanced down at the paper and started to read. What? It slowly dawned on me what this was, I had seen stuff like this on Pinterest (☺) but it still didn’t quite register. I got up and went to the front of the room. I tapped the Pres on the shoulder and asked for clarification. She explained that it was part of a Use your Words for Good theme our RS had been trying to emphasize and one of the activities had been thinking of words that describe each sister. A creative computer skilled sister then compiled them into a little handout.
I thanked her, returned to my seat and tried not to let the tears show. Don’t know if it was a combination of being Mother’s day and all the emotion that goes with that or if it was all the positivism jumping from the page but I was just so touched. Believe me I am well aware of words that could be used to describe me. Words like messy, scatterbrained, distracted, moody, impulsive, blah blah blah. I am reminded daily of those. But can I just tell you what a lift it was to read something else. And even if the words they chose are not wholly true I want to make them true. I want to live like they describe me. You better believe there is power in words. And if we use them for good they really can soothe and motivate and even validate. Don’t be surprised when you see this idea passed on. Guess what you’re all getting for your birthday.


Does anyone know why blogger won't let me post in paragraphs? It bunches up all my text and it's really bugging me. It only started doing this since they changed their format. I have googled it and many others have the same problem. None of the solutions make sense. Help from any tech savvy rellys would be appreciated.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

i have known good mothers

It was the fall after my stillborn and my mother thought it would be good for me to get away. I flew down to Blythe alone and after a few days there she and I drove over to St. David to visit Grandma Rose. It was good to spend time with these women, their words could heal and soothe. Grandma and mother had perfected the rare art of 'wisdom banter', mundane and seemingly trivial conversation that is randomly interspersed with nuggets of profundity. So it happened on the second morning that we were there Grandma asked how I was feeling. I told her I was fine, perfectly fine. And I was. Physically, anyway. She nodded her head slowly. Then Grandma hopped up from the table abruptly and went back into the spare bedroom and brought out her latest craft. "They showed us how to make these in Relief Society last month. They sure are clever, aren't they?" Sure enough. The purse made out of a yellow placemat was indeed clever. "We could make some while you're here". "I would like that", I said. And then she talked about going into town later, about Uncle John and how his leg had been bothering him. She talked about lettuce being on sale. Then she ran her fingers through her gray wispy hair and sighed sadly. "I sure could use a haircut. The gal that cuts my hair is out of town for two weeks. I look like a wild woman of Borneo".
Mother assured her she looked fine but offered to wash and curl her hair for her. Then all of a sudden Grandma's face lit up and she turned to me. "You could cut my hair, Candace". Just like that things happened so fast. Despite my mother shaking her head from side to side and silently mouthing the words "NO" and despite the fact that I had absolutely no experience at all in cutting hair, Grandma procured some scissors out of the drawer and plopped down in the old dining chair. I covered her neck with a towel and began. Grandma kept talking. "My it's been rainy" and "Aunt Luella got a new mop" and "it is unbelievable what is on TV these days". Meanwhile I snipped and snipped. Hadn't a clue what I was doing but no matter, I was totally engaged in the work. Once and a while I would look up at my mother and see her horrified expression. But I kept on cutting, the gray hair falling into heaps on the floor. Grandma kept up her banter. Then it became pitifully obvious. I glanced over at my mother again and instead of horror her lips started to twitch. She was trying very hard not to smile. I worked harder and faster. When Grandma mentioned "the Lord moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform', I made eye contact with my mom again. She was snickering silently, her hand covering her mouth. Once in a while a sound would escape.
Then all of a sudden I started laughing uproariously. We laughed, my mom and I, until we cried and my grandma, my sweet little Grandma pretended not to notice. She scarcely drew breath and kept up her monologue. It's true. I butchered Grandma's hair. And afterward, when the hair was swept up and the comb and scissors put away, she thanked me and said I did a fine job. Even when she looked in the mirror, mother and I were holding onto our sides. Days later when we got into the car to return home, Grandma stood on her porch waving in her double knit housedress and bravely wearing the most ridiculous haircut imaginable. Oh, how I miss these fine women. They were wonderful mothers.

Friday, May 11, 2012

back in the swing with MODA*

Finished this up a couple of days ago. An insightful read and a great companion to Alan Wheelis' How People Change (a past MODA selection).
Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but they're not. They're habits. p. 14 Oh, just go read it, there's too many excellent passages to quote here. *MODA = Mother Daughter book club. We've acquired a new member. Welcome Jiao:)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

here's to the grannies who lunch

Brick Oven celebrating Penee's birthday. So much to love and admire about these two women. Glad to have had them in my life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

trek n' trax

Jiao wanted to see City Creek and the Gateway so we hopped on Trax and rode into town. We brought ld along, too.
The weather was nice, slightly breezy. Flowers in bloom everywhere.
Lunch, the Apple store, ice cream and then we hit up the Asian Ocean Mart grocery store on the way home.
A good day. I love going on little outings with Jiao. I like to imagine how things must look from her perspective, seeing America, seeing Utah, with fresh eyes.
The girl is a breath of fresh air.