Tuesday, July 31, 2007


On a rare occasion, you read or hear something that takes you by surprise and so ruthlessly exposes your private, secret feelings, it literally takes your breath away. For the first time, I came very close to a meltdown at work when I read these words emailed to me by a friend and written by Valerie Hemmingway about her ex- (and now deceased) husband, Gregory (son of Ernest).

"I never had it in my heart to be angry with Greg, except momentarily, for he suffered far more than anyone I have known. So much of life passed him by because he was wallowing in despair, soaring with destructive mania, or discontented with the essence of his being. I remember back to that moment when he first left: the sadness, my feeling of abject failure, augmented by relief. . . . What an unbelievable luxury it was not to worry, not to fear, not to be threatened. In our final year together, life around Greg had become a prolonged nightmare. Now I could savor the simplest of pleasures. The ticking of a clock for comfort, the singing of a bird for joy, the taste of a raspberry fresh from the garden still bathed in dew. It was sheer happiness and it was infinite."

I know. And feel. Exactly. Every word. Exactly. Valerie and I both know. Except in my case the name was not Greg. I'm reluctant to admit the pain is still so strong, so near the surface. I manage to partition my life so well that I almost convince myself that this was not my experience at all. But it was.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Getting a Jump on the Weekend

Mowed the lawn tonight. I had planned to do it in the morning, but that would be tight what with having a hair appointment at 10 a.m. So I waited until a little after 8 and it was actually not bad at all. Temps in the high 80's, but my lawn was about two-thirds in the shade by then and the nearly setting sun was not blazing hot as it is when I usually cut the lawn. Took about 40 minutes, no resting required. Now I'm off to wash the car. This is great to knock off a few things from my To Do list before the weekend has even started. I have a lot of weeding and dead-heading of flowers to do after many hot days followed by rain, with me cowering inside.

It feels so good to be out in the yard again.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rain, Glorious Rain!

Last night it rained really hard for more than a half hour, and then rained off and on for many hours after that. The ground got such a good soaking. Tonight, it rained for over an hour. It makes me so happy -- free water from the sky! Since I have to water with culinary water, my water bills can be very high, and rain, to me, is just like dollar bills falling from the sky. I've practiced tough love with my yard this year, only watering every other day despite the long dry, hot spell, and have managed to conserve water and save money. Most of my drought tolerant plants have come though well, though a little faded in color and some of the blooms a little smaller. The grass is the worst, getting yellow in spots. But I don't worry about the grass. It's hard to kill grass. But everything is perking up now and I bought three new cone flowers when I was at Smith's. Every time I go to Smith's, I look at the garden shop for a bargin plant or two and then stick them in the ground. They nearly all grow and do just great. I'm not normally much of a shopper -- except when it comes to plants for my yard.

Got the car in to the shop today to get the bearing fixed. The part won't be in until tomorrow, so I'm stuck at home without wheels. But it has been a pleasure watching this lovely rainstorm. What a precious thing is rain.

Monday, July 23, 2007


It's not whether or not to trust, but knowing WHOM you can trust.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

No time for car repairs

Had the wheels aligned and they said I have a loose bearing. Should be covered under the warranty, so need to take it to the dealer. Ugh. I hate car repairs as I hate being without my car. That was a week ago. How soon do I need to get it in? I don't know. But I'm just too busy. Simone's parents arrived from Brazil and I helped at the airport since S&S don't have enough room in their car. Had a great visit two evenings. Had to drive Steve to work twice as the Olds is kaput, and Simone needed the car. They are trying to find a van. Jeff spent one evening here installing Vista on my new computer. What a pain, I'd rather go back to XP. Picked up Jenn at the airport last night, then we had dinner and went to King's English for the Harry Potter party. Now I have today to get ready for my sisters brunch I'm having tomorrow. The house and yard have been neglected all week, so I'm way behind on my list of things to do. Are you kidding - take my car in to the shop this week?! I hope I can safely put it off for a few more days.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I could just copy and paste the words from my RedStateBlues blog from a year ago (click the "Wildlife" title, above, to link), talking about the visits to my yard by young deer and the hummingbirds. It's de ja vu all over again. Today it was two young deer casually walking through my back yard in the mid-morning. I caught one of them on my cell phone camera, but a little far away. After a day of 104-degree temps, the hummingbirds visited my agastache in the cooler evening. There is no need for hummingbird feeders if you just plant some lovely, water-wise agastache (hyssop). It comes in a variety of colors and looks pretty alongside Russian sage.

Workin' Out

Holy smokes! Mowing the lawn is still tough. I've lost a good bit of weight this summer and I attribute it almost entirely to lawn mowing on that steep hill of mine. I've started walking the stairs at work, too. With four floors in three connected buildings, we do a lot of walking. But I've relied on the elevators more than I should -- even going down one floor. Now that's just plain lazy. When I first started my job, I tried walking up to the 3rd floor every day, but the stairs on my end of the building are very steep and left me breathless at the top. Eventually, I gave up all the stairs just out of laziness, but I've started walking stairs again. One floor is easy, two floors are not bad from the lobby, so next I may just tackle those steep ones again. With some weight off, it is easier for sure.

I'm down two sizes, which is simply amazing to me. I'm not a fan of going to the gym, but my body appreciates a good workout like mowing the lawn, walking stairs, or even just walking for the sheer enjoyment of it. But now I need to take in the seams of some of my clothes. I bought a couple of things in this size, but I won't be here long, and don't want to buy a bunch of clothes that will soon be too big. I already have enough of those.

But, whew, that lawn mowing may be the death of me!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Click the title above to see the trailer. I guess I'm responsible for suggesting this movie and I wonder if the other women enjoyed it as much as I did. We had planned to go to "Heaven", but somehow, we changed our plans. This is a movie about music with a little nearly-a-love-story on the side. The music is generation "Y" and may not please everyone.

One scene I particularly liked took place in a pub with ordinary people singing ballads and Irish tunes. I wish singing was more popular in the U.S. I love to sing, but people just don't do it. Although with this spate of new TV shows all about singing, maybe people will feel more comfortable singing. How great to sit in a pub and sing your favorite old tunes with your friends.

(Spoilers ahead - stop now if you plan to see the move)

The young man makes a living by day repairing vacuum cleaners and at night playing his guitar on the street -- a guitar played so hard and violently, his strumming has broken a hole through the wood. He meets a young women who needs her vacuum repaired and who also happens to play the piano. She doesn't own a piano, but she visits a music store for an hour each day where she is allowed to play. She plays a tune for the young man and he tells her it's lovely, did she write it? No, it's Mendelssohn. Then he plays a tune of his own, and she joins in with harmony and piano. A great sound.

He says to her,"It's in C." "I can see that," she says,looking at the placement of his fingers on the frets. It's 5/4 he says. There's no faking here. Both of these two are real musicians and singers, and while the music they play is not particularly complex, it is very fresh and new and appealing.

The story ends just as a story like this should. I'll not tell the ending. If you like little off-beat films about ordinary, likeable people, you'll enjoy this. I did. It's playing in Salt Lake at the Broadway Theatre.

July 5, 2007. The evening began with glass of wine and a tour of the charming home of Judy and Sydney in the Sugarhouse area. Words can't describe the impressive artwork throughout, creations of both Sydney and Judy. One of Judy's claims to fame is that she is the creator of the Trix rabbit (wabbit), back in her commercial artist days. Now she specializes in opera posters--my personal favorite was "cats in opera". Sydney, a Brit and a truly accomplished artist in several media and genres, served in WWII and piloted a landing craft on D-Day shuttling troops from ships to the beaches in Normandy. We watched a 20-minute documentary of the 50-year commemoration of D-Day, sprinkled throughout with original photos of the landing. Afterward, we gathered at Mr. Z's for dinner conveniently next door to our theatre.


I watched the Steve Martin classic "Parenthood" tonight on cable -- one of my all-time favorite movies. A cleaned up, no swearing version on WE, it left some of the scenes a bit hacked up, but my favorite was fully intact. It's grandma, near the end of the movie, telling how her late husband had taken her on a roller coaster when she was a young girl. She loved it. She couldn't believe how something could make her feel frightened, excited, and thrilled all at once. Some didn't like it, she said; they liked the merry-go-round. But it just goes round and round - nothing. You just have to love that grandma.

It reminded me of a conversation this morning as we talked about "getting through" this hot period. And I thought, why are we so anxious just to get through it? We'll soon enough to be in the opposite season wishing the same thing. Why not try to enjoy the moment?

Endurance. Enduring till the end. How about enjoying till the end? Enduring implies waiting until things get better. But every day offers something joyful, lovely, heartwarming, or downright funny. All of those describe my second favorite scene in Parenthood, when Rick Moranis sings "Close To You" in his wife's school classroom.

Someone recently said to me, end each day with a smile. Good advice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Still Tired

I thought I would start getting more sleep now things are mostly settled, but if anything, I'm sleeping less - mostly because I'm trying to get so much done every evening. I am resolving tonight to just go to bed no later than 11 whether I have everything done or not.

I've decided not to change my name. I've had this name half of my life, and it is the name I'm known by professionally. And I share this name with my daughter. Besides, none of the other names were right for me either. Too bad I can't be like Cher and have just one name -- Becky!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

It's gonna take some time this time

Reality sinks in. I'm feeling pretty sad, not for myself, but for him - still my husband but almost my ex. He looked so terrible, he's made suh a mess of his life, damaged his health. We've all tried to help him but no-one can. Today I realized something: I may divorce him, but I won't abandon him. When he reaches the point where he's too sick to take care of himself, and all his new 'friends' are long gone, there will be someone who will look after him. In fact, there are quite a few of us who still care about what happens to him. He never really knew who his best friends were. Tomorrow is our anniversary - 28 years.

I'm going to give myself some time to heal. There's plenty of time later for getting on with my life.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What's in a name?

The mediation was a complete success. We settled all issues with very little disagreement. I think the lawyers and mediator felt it was fair, I felt it was fair, but I sense my husband did not agree. But it was as close to a 50/50 split as you could come and still not require either person to write a check to the other.

Now I have decided to change my name. Considering my maiden name, Griffin, but also mom's maiden name Chamberlin, or grandma's maiden name Henderson. I'm asking opinions of family members. I'm sure mom and dad will think it weird. But I don't think I want to go back to my childhood name, I want to go forward to something new.

I have a few days to weigh this decision. I will have this name for the rest of my life, so I must think this through carefully.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The moment we've been waiting for

There's a time in the summer garden when the old blooms are just fading, the recent blooms are coming on strong, and the latest are just beginning. Today, July 1st, is that day. The entire garden is in full color. The agastache, nearly obscured by the Russian sage (which is getting too much water), is drawing in the little hummingbirds. Even in the dim light of sunrise, the blanket flower, bee balm, cone flower, coreopsis, speedwell, are so lovely. Back through the trees you can just make out the stalks of the glorious "garden variety" day lilies, putting on their best show. In the shade of a pine tree, even my newest deep red bee balm, planted after the heat began, is giving us a hint of next year's display.

Sadly, my hybrid day lilies have all been topped by the deer, both blooms and buds. In 28 years in this house, we've never had so much trouble with the deer. But the two new large houses in the gully across the way explain it for me. With the loss of all that lovely scrub oak, the deer seem almost desperate for food. Even without blooms, that day lily bed needs weeding, so off I go.