Sunday, May 31, 2009

May is all but gone, Welcome June

May is so close to over, I'm not sure I'll have time to write and post anything still in this month.  But let's see what I can do in 25 minutes.

Thursday, 28th, I took Pamela Goodfellow, my writing teacher, to frespa and for pedicures.  I went all out with blue polish and white daisy flowers with a yellow rhinestone center on my big toenails.  Pamela chose purple, which went on somewhat browner, but flowers lightened her toes, too.

We chose Thursday so we'd feel fun and frivolous at our class outing in Forest Lake with the rest of the class.  And we did.

Louise and Larry have a beautiful cabin, on a large lot where nature reigns and loving care enhances.  Just a couple of months ago, Larry finished and installed eight magnificent stained glass windows he designed and constructed, with pines, water, sky and mountains.  Most impressive, and fit right in with the rest of the decor.  

We finished our last class of this section, had a great time with critiquing, and ate like royalty--better than some.

Louise and I are writing our memoirs, and all the class were delighted to meet Larry, especially after hearing so much of his antics in previous classes.  He outdid our expectations.

Two more minutes to go to make this a May blog.  I'm a slow writer.  Let it suffice to say life is still wonderful, rewarding, and I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings.  It's usually some dumb thing I manage to do, but it's always interesting.  I like this growing old.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and Memories

Gracious me, it's nearly ten o'clock in the morning and, except for a couple of great-grandsons, the whole household seems asleep.  I've been at the computer most all morning, enjoying the quiet.  Eight-year old Preston was busy drawing when I went downstairs to check, and I saw Jeremy, who is four, scooting around with hands full of TV remotes and cell phones.  I decided to leave them to their parents.  

Eileen and Ryan and their four children are down from St. Johns for the weekend.  Last night the house almost rocked with the noise of celebration, honoring Amy and Jet, both just graduated from high school.  Today, we're recuperating.

Marolyn called an hour or so ago, and with scratchy voice asked if any of the family were planning to come over her direction. She lives closest of any of us to the Memorial Cemetery where Charles' body is buried.  We talked about Staci and shared her blogs, one or the other reading aloud a favorite part.  We're very biased, of course, being her mother and grandmother, but there's no doubt that Staci does a great job, and the pictures are adorable.  She's at and when I get through here I'll see if I can figure how to get it linked to mine.  

I told Marolyn how I'm concentrating on my bio, and how I'd been told, "You're still healthy and alert, but you have no guarantee of how long you'll stay that way," which adds to my urgency for setting more immediate goals. My children can't write my book for me. That led to how and when Charles left.

"I'm sure, Mom, that when Dad got called he said, 'Wait a minute.  I told my wife I'd walk her through our income tax this morning.  Just give me another hour.'  But then, he'd have reconsidered and added, 'Okay, I'll go.  She's smart enough to figure it out,' and he went."

We laughed, and talked on, but the more I thought of it, the tighter my throat became, and soon I simply could not talk.  It surprised me.  I'd always known that anger shuts me up, but not this completely.  I can at least bawl.  This morning, in mere moments, I'd tightened until I almost believed there was no way I could get even a tiny squeak past my closed throat.  With supreme effort, I forced a few words like, "I'm ... not ... sad ... just ... emotional. ... I ... love ... you. ..." and I hung up.  Never before have I felt my throat so constricted, and I doubted I could even swallow.  But in that, I was wrong.  A cup of water, and I was back, more or less, to normal.

By this time, I heard more movement going on downstairs and went down to see what Kat and the Browers were planning for today.  We even talked about memorial day.  Ryan said in St. Johns the scouts always raised a new flag over the cemetery, to replace the wind-tattered, sun-bleached old one.  It was his troop's turn to officiate today, but he'd turned that over to his assistant scoutmaster.  Ryan has four generations of ancestors buried at St. Johns.  His parents moved back this month, so there are two more generations living there.    

I told my childhood memories of memorial day.  By late May in Archer, Idaho (near Rexburg) the chances were good of having gardens full of flowers.  Lilacs and peonies especially come to mind.  We'd pick wash-tubs full of blooms, gather rakes, hoes, and even shovels, and head for the cemetery.  

A barbed-wire fence surrounded the graveyard, with a cattle-guard at the entry instead of a gate.  On another side we kids loved to climb the four-or-five step stile over and back until our mothers called us away to our duty.

This was the day for annual grave cleaning.  That meant we came to hoe the weeds, rake off the graves, shovel soil back to smooth, rounded mounds to match the size of each grave, and then spread our flowers over the top.  With so many of the Wilcox family living nearby, our family graves got pretty well covered, and on good years we had flowers to pass on to others.

I could talk of all this easily, but when I even thought of suggesting we go to Charles' gravesite, I felt my throat tighten, and all I wanted to do was go back upstairs.  So here I am, still with no idea of what I'll do today.  Maybe, since it's not far away from noon, I can begin preparations for whatever comes by showering and getting dressed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This is Fun

I just got back from frespa, with French-tip nails and a new haircut and style.  I feel pampered, and love it.  My granddaughter Lisa took pictures of me with Alissa, the hair stylist, but things got too busy to post it right then.  We're not giving up.

And I thank Krista, Marsha, and Kari for responding to my blog already, while I was gone.  Your attention and love seem to raise my spirits as surely as elevators raise my body.  I notice, though, I do have to push the right button.

I thought I had reformed when I got nine whole hours of sleep night before last.  But I stopped by the spa yesterday, Lisa opened this blog site, and between it and email, I stayed at the computer until five this morning.  I still managed four hours sleep before ten.  I'm thinking of a nap now, but the bishop and his counselor are coming to visit me in about half an hour.  You know, another "taking care of the widows" duty visit.  I'm looking forward to it.  It's like getting pampered in still another direction.

It feels so good, I think I'll look for ways to pass it on.  

As soon as they leave, I'm going to write.  On my bio, that is. Somebody in ANWA, I forgot who, recommended Jack M. Bickham, and I checked three of his books from the Chandler Library:  "Scene & Structure," "Setting," and "Writing and Selling Your Novel."  I started on the latter just before I left for the spa.  I can hardly wait to read more.  He's very persuasive. I'm ready to commit myself to so many pages, or words, per day, and do it first, not last.  Now, there's another puzzler.  Do I first read more of him for motivation?  Or write first and then read for confirmation?  Shucks.  What seems easy isn't always so.

I think I'll not even try to estimate how many goals and commitments I've espoused and forsaken.  That's in the past. I'm aiming for the future.  When I get all dolled up, there has to be somewhere to go, and filling goals just might get me "on the go."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Welcome to my blog

by Anna Laurene Arnett

If you're hoping for some pictures, come again.

If you'd like a lovely format, come again.

If you just want to know what in the world an octogenarian widow has to say about anything, read on.

If you like it, post a comment and come back.

If you don't like it, post a comment and come back anyway, just to see if it gets any better.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

For months, or weeks, or at least days, I've considered, been tempted, and even tried to create my own blog site.  I'd get almost to the end of the instructions and get stymied and give up.  Somehow, even with a post-graduate degree in teaching English and (according to Reader's Digest Word Power) an excellent vocabulary, I find computer instructions often just do not speak my language.  It took me months after agreeing to an update to find how and where my documents disappear.  All this, even though I've owned and used a Mac since 1984, the first year it hit the market.

If I'd just known that in five minutes a talented granddaughter could open this blog, I'd have had dozens of posts for you to read by now.  

Yet, this first one is hard to even begin.  If it isn't good, will you ever come back?  Please don't give up without at least two, or three, or four, or more tries.  

Now, it's time to introduce myself.

Hi, I'm so happy to greet you.  I'm Anna, mother of seven, grandmother of twenty-nine, and great-grandmother to at least thirty-six. (One of these days I'll get around to counting them.)

I'm at the age when I ought to be sitting on a front porch somewhere, rocking, knitting, and watching the world go by. Well, I do sometimes, when I can work it in, but I prefer my LaZboy upstairs to a front porch.

Actually, I'm not that old.  I'm only eighty-four.  And I'm ready for new experiences.  I hunt up a few of my own, like writing and publishing, and my posterity provide me with plenty of other opportunities.

For example, I'm calling this blog Frespa Fan, because I am one. My oldest grandson concocted the idea of a membership spa that would combine the casual elegance of a country club with all the luxuries of a day spa.  I've been pampered there, and I love it.

My son Mark had his documentary, "Baby Boomerang," (I'm in it) shown again last week, this time at the Gone With the Film festival in Hollywood, and was awarded "Best Documentary."  Of course, he deserved it.

My two middle sons have done great things with the 492nd Bomb Group website and have great plans for more historical research.

A daughter and her husband are doing a handcart trek next week.  They're the oldest ones in this group, it seems.  Kat will do well, for she and her older brother and sister joined a dozen others last January to re-enact the POW forced march of nearly sixty miles from Stalag Luft III to Spremberg, Germany 

I'm the president of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit historical organization, but my kids do most all the work.

I'm ready to settle down and get my memoirs completed and ready for publication.  Well, at least the first volume.  I'm trying to get it to read like a novel.  Only trouble is I can't do much to manipulate the plot.

A grandson and his wife both graduated suma cum laude from ASU last week, and two granddaughters graduated from high school this week.

We're planning to move two or three cows into the back yard and become milkmaids.  Raw milk is much more nutritious.  The enzymes are still there.

I think I can find enough things to blog about.  If you have any questions, just ask.  That's what the comment thing-a-ma-jig is all about.

Goodnight, and sweet dreams

Grandma Anna