Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Is Not My Thing

Flog me if you must.

I know this holiday picks up popularity like a runaway snowball. Lately it's not just about costumes and treats, but massive amounts of decor, and even lights. It thinks it's competing with Christmas. But to me it's not even in the running.

It started when I was, um, two. My mother made me an adorable clown costume, and my 4-year-old cousin dressed up like a black cat. Scared me half to death. For years I would bury my face in my mother's skirt whenever we turned to that photo in the family album. Something about seeing my favorite cousin dressed up as a spooky black cat gave me unbearable creeps.

Then in elementary school I was the pathetic nerdy kid who would not, could not go to the Sixth Grade's spook alley...even as a fifth grader! And now I sit back in disbelief as my kids beg to visit such Halloween offerings as "Castle of Chaos," "Scream Asylum," and "Nightmare on 13th."   I seriously don't understand the appeal.  My problem with Halloween, in a nutshell is that I simply DO NOT LIKE TO BE AFRAID. In fact, I take refuge in this scripture: "For God hath not given us the spirit of FEAR, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

My biggest aversion to Halloween came the year we had a stillborn baby.  Nineteen days before Halloween. I was suffering under the weight of this lost child, and could not fathom why anyone would want to celebrate death. Turn their yards into graveyards. Dress as the Grim Reaper. Fill the world with blood and gore. Just the sight of it all made me sick. All this death and decay did not contribute to "a sound mind."  That year I dressed in black, but couldn't bring myself to don a costume. My closest friend somehow knew how this whole October thing was affecting me, and showed up at my house every afternoon so I wouldn't have to be alone in my grief. She literally got me through the month (and the holiday of horror) by giving me one thing to look forward to every day. Her presence.

That is as cold and dark as Halloween ever got for me. And I hope I never have to go there again.  

I have one really wonderful Halloween memory that I want to share with you, though: Our first Halloween in Pasadena, when our oldest was about two, we took him trick-or-treating for the first time to a little activity at our church called Trunk-or-Treat. This is all the rage now, but was fairly new at the time, designed to provide a safe place for children to trick-or-treat from car to car. We took Joshy out in his adorable dinosaur costume and started making the rounds to the various trunks with our plastic pumpkin (which we had seeded with a few morsels from the treats we were giving away from our own trunk that year). At the very first trunk a cute young couple oohed and ahhed over his costume, and then dropped a tootsie roll into his bucket. Now, you have to picture yourself as the mother there for this brief instant: I watched with sheer amazement as Joshy then reached into his bucket and PULLED OUT A TREAT FOR EACH OF THEM.

As a young mother, I was thrilled to see our child wanting to share rather than take. No one had briefed him on the rituals of trick-or-treating. What we saw was a natural response from his naturally giving heart. It was a moment I'll never forget.  A window into this little boy's heart. Which I still see as very grateful, generous, and giving. Even at seventeen.

So forgive me for not having  a skeleton on my porch, or orange lights lining my roof. I do not like to be afraid. But be sure to stop by for a homemade cookie or a handful of treats. Because I really love to give.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Fragments: Car, Taxi and Trailer

1. The Car.
Our son, Mr. Cool, clearly has designer genes. Check out this car he created for the Pinewood Derby last night. He sketched out the plans for it himself...and my amazing husband helped him figure out how to make it work. And work it did...He not only took Best Of Show for the awesome design, but it also placed third in the race. The best part of all? Was the sheer, radiant joy in his expression as we left last night. I would not be surprised to see this kid pursue a career in some design field.... architecture, automotive, sculpture?

To quote Dieter Uchtdorf, "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty....Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness." I saw this little guy demonstrating both last night: The joy in his own creation, and genuine compassion for his little buddies who lost the race. He worked so hard to build all of them up and make them feel good about THEIR creations. The result was a boy brimming over with genuine happiness. And it was contagious.

2. The Taxi
I truly wish I had photos to upload for this one. The Princess was given a ticket for the midnight premiere of High School Musical 3? 4? I can't keep track of which version they're up to now. But she and a friend dressed up in these hilarious red and white teeny-bopper outfits and went to the big opening. Then, lucky me, a little after 2 a.m. I got to venture out into the night (sorry, folks, I don't consider that morning!) and pick them up. I slept in my sweats and then pried myself off the mattress, tippy-toed out of the house, and picked up two giggly thirteen-year-old girls to shuttle them home. The girls said the movie was so dumb it was hilarious. ( Sounds about right. Maybe they've got a career as movie critics?) And as much as I might hate to admit it, I kind of dug the whole adventure. (But not quite as much as I dug taking them toilet-papering last weekend!) Cue evil laugh.

3. The Trailer
Now here is my gift to you. This could seriously make your whole Friday, and maybe even your whole weekend. (And from a bunch of the blogs I've read lately, we all need a good laugh!) My husband and his team of creative wizards just finished this hilarious (fictitious) movie trailer that will look very familiar and is wholly invented. But somehow rings true. So true. Enjoy!
Here's the link:
Feel free to forward this one far and's fair game...and I'm sure they'd love all the YouTube hits they can get!

Happy Friday!

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Friday Fragments?
Friday Fragments is the brainchild of Mrs. 4444 @ Half Past Kissin' Time. Click here to see the other fragments.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

O Pioneer...I'm such a wimp!

Back in high school my friend Lyn and I used to joke that when they were selecting spirits to come to earth, someone stamped on our foreheads: "NOT PIONEER MATERIAL".

I've just received confirmation that, in all of our prophetic high school silliness, we were right.

Nine-year-old Mr. Cool and I spent the weekend at my sister's cabin, in (the middle of nowhere) Christmas Meadows. And we were totally delighting in the idea of getting away from it all. Literally.

The two-and-a-half-hour drive was lovely, and the cabin is a quaint chateau with antique furnishings and handmade quilts and even a 19th century coal-burning stove. There is no telephone and no cell reception (yay!) There is indoor plumbing, but there's also an outhouse. And scenery that takes your breath away at every turn. (I took 66 photos of stuff I want to paint!)

We unloaded the cars with our boxes and boxes of food and snacks from Costco, then took the kids on a walk down to the stream. Pure bliss! Flyfishermen, canoes, and endless color.

We walked back to the cabin, ate dinner, played Scrabble, and got all cozy as we watched the kids fall asleep one by one under the downy quilts.

The next day was more of the same...until...our water supply was cut off. Just like that. There's no water to wash the dishes with. The toilet won't flush. And the outhouse suddenly loses all of its turn-of-the-century charm. :)

I refused to be beaten down. Let's haul water from the stream. Better yet, there's a well up the lane. So off we go, in the dark, with our buckets, in search of well water. Our two buckets' worth after sloshing our way home only amounted to enough to ALMOST flush the toilet. Nothing left for the sink.

In the meantime, my nephew, in an effort to help with a very grown-up job, had put too much lighter fluid on the coal in the stove, and the house was filling up with an off-smelling smoky odor that was giving us headaches. Suddenly having no phone service didn't seem like such a blessing after all.

So we left.

It was that simple. Because he had a choice. We didn't actually HAVE to go trotting off to the outhouse when the toddlers needed to go potty in the middle of the night. Nor did we HAVE to figure out how to correct the fumes from the coal-burning stove. We left. Because we could.

By a little after midnight that night I was snuggled up in my own little bed at home, reading by my night-light, having just brushed my teeth with running water and flushed (almost without a thought) my own private toilet, talked to my sister on my cellphone (because we now had reception), checked my email, and sipped my microwaved cup of herbal tea. I didn't need to adjust the was already perfect. And for a few brief moments before I drifted off to sleep, I felt very grateful not to be a pioneer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ghosts...In Three Acts – III

All three of our houses had ghosts.
The first one held ghosts we unknowingly brought there ourselves.

The second house had several...
One charming and poetic, one tragic, and one very real but borderline hilarious specter.
Our third house has the best ghost of all.

These are their stories. And ours.
(Please scroll down and read the first two before this finale...)


Our third house is here in Utah. A place we thought we’d never live. In a city and county we thought we were even LESS likely to inhabit. When Jeff accepted the offer to teach at BYU we had to eat a lot of crow. Not just a pie, mind you, but a full-on crow buffet!

And house-hunting was, well...interesting, to say the least. Remember, we were leaving a beautiful Craftsman home built in 1908. So when we told the realtor we were interested in older houses we figured we’d see something along those lines. But instead, "older" to him meant circa 1990. Hilarious. We said okay...just don’t show us anything from the 60s and 70s. So we looked at roughly 30 homes in four days and couldn’t find anything acceptable. (I’m sure he wanted to strangle us!)

At that point we started dropping our requirements...and our pride. “Okay, this area’s no longer off limits.” “I guess we can adjust the price range to include a broader selection.” “Give us any decade. We can’t be that picky.”

And then he showed us this house. I had seen it on the internet at least half a dozen times, and never mentioned it to the realtor. But I recognized it as soon as we pulled up in front. We walked in the door and happily noted the entry way. Jeff’s first requirement: Check. We looked around the main floor, and then they ushered us upstairs. Just as I started climbing the second set of stairs (above the landing, I had the most amazing experience. I had this tingly all over feeling that I can only describe as a spiritual hug. It honestly felt like something warm and sweet had wrapped itself around my soul, as if to say, “This is the place. This is where you belong.”

Jeff was down in the kitchen talking to the owners. We finally met up again in the basement, and after I mockingly gave a thumbs-up to the hilarious 1970s yellow and brown bathroom (!) I pulled him aside and said, “I think we can stop looking, Honey. This is the house.” Amazingly, he’d felt it too. “I think so too,” he said, and told the realtor we didn’t need to see any more, we were ready to make an offer. We hadn’t even seen the whole house yet. But we were that sure.

We found out the next morning, in talking with the owner, that she had gone to high school with my mother (who had passed away 12 years earlier). She even pulled out an old yearbook to show us. On top of that, my dad had been her parents’ bishop. This woman had grown up on the same street I grew up on. There was no doubt that what I felt, the “ghost” in our new house was my mom, trying to tell us this was “Home.”

I hope she never leaves....

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This series of posts was written as an entry in Scribbit's October Writeaway: Ghosts.

Ghosts...In Three Acts – II

All three of our houses had ghosts.
The first one held ghosts we unknowingly brought there ourselves.

The second house had several...
One charming and poetic, one tragic, and one very real but borderline hilarious specter.
Our third house has the best ghost of all.

These are their stories. And ours.
(Please scroll down and read the first one first.)


Our second home was our dream house. A big, 2-story craftsman built in 1908.
An old lady had lived there. And died there. But it wasn’t scary.
My friend (and poet) Mary Lea Carroll wrote a poem about it which describes the feeling perfectly:

“...The rooms are very still now, as the looking-woman gazes
from the landing window with Christmas tree perfume in her nose
and happy birthdays in her ears. Without a sound all
the still still rooms hand themselves over to the mother-to-be.”

Just the right kind of ghosts.

A few months later we had a baby daughter who was stillborn. This was not a happy time in our lives by any means. But we began to notice that a very sweet little spirit permeated the walls. And our hearts. She brought healing, even amid the heartache.

And then there was Maude.

Thankfully Maude didn’t live at our house. She lived around the corner on Topeka Street. The neighbors told us stories about her. How she’d just show up, uninvited, and they could tell she was there because the air grew damp and chill. She liked to drink the water out of the dog dish and the flower vases. And rearrange the pictures on the mantle. Turn lights on and off. Annoying things like that. She was pesky. And stubborn. But at least if they needed a private minute and they told Maude to leave, she would.

She just wouldn’t leave for good. The next family who bought the house started doing research on the previous owners. They figured information was power. They were on fairly good terms with Maude. But they wanted to know more. It turns out that there was a woman who owned the house about three owners back who was a diabetic. (I guess that accounts for the water-zapping antics). She died in the house. And had some unresolved business there.

One night my friend and I were going for a late-night stroll around the neighborhood. It was lovely summertime weather and the evening air felt just right for a walk. As we got close to Maude’s house (Isn’t that funny? I can’t remember the actual owners’ names, only Maude’s) I told my friend the amazing story about this ghost who lived in the house, and the people who co-existed with her there, and even knew her by name. Just then we crossed in front of Maude’s house...and the street light suddenly went dark. Boom! “Maude!” we gasped in unison, and I kid you not, we both took off running, and didn’t stop until we got to the next corner! And then we laughed and laughed at how silly we were to think that a ghost was trying to scare us off her property!

Well, the family continued their Maude research and discovered that Maude had an estranged daughter who was living in the San Fernando Valley. They looked her up to see what kind of background info she could provide about Maude and her story. They invited her over to the house, and for Maude to visit with her daughter. Amazingly, that seems to be all she wanted. Once Maude had a chance to see her daughter again, and make peace there, she was able to move on, and she never bothered the family again. For reals.

I wonder if they miss her, now that she’s gone...

(continued, next post)
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This series of posts was written as an entry in Scribbit's October Writeaway: Ghosts.

Ghosts...In Three Acts – I

All three of our houses had ghosts.
The first one held ghosts we unknowingly brought there ourselves.

The second house had several...
One charming and poetic, one tragic, and one very real but borderline hilarious specter.
Our third house has the best ghost of all.

These are their stories. And ours.


We moved to Pasadena just after the Rodney King Riots. We actually lived in south-central L.A. inside the first curfew zone (read: Extreme Danger Zone) during the riots. And our impoverished inner-city neighborhood retained a sense of lawlessness and racial tension even after the uprising had ended.

One night we heard shouting and broken glass outside our window. As I strained to decipher the distant, muffled voice it sounded like “Death to whites.” I woke up Jeff. “Honey, there’s somebody outside shouting Death to whites. I think that means us.” He sat up. We both listened. All we could hear was a dog barking. Could we really be so traumatized that suddenly “Woof who-whoof!” sounds like “Death to whites!”? But then we heard it again, closer, more distinct. Unmistakable. Jeff got up and called 911. He whispered into the phone, “There’s a guy outside shouting death to whites, and we’re the only whites on our street. Could you please send an officer to check it out? But don’t send them to our house. We don’t want them to know exactly where we live.”

I was appalled at the response: “I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t do that. It’s a hate crime, and you need to fill out a report for the officer first.” Holy cow! We need to put our lives in further jeopardy to get help? 911 is ignoring an imminent death threat?

So we called Bill. At 3 a.m! Bill (aptly surnamed Gunn) lived in the house in front and had a whole arsenal of weapons. He told us if we ever needed anything to call. So we took him up on it. We explained what was happening and he went out on his front porch with an AK-47 to take care of business. A few minutes later our phone rang. It was Bill. “It’s okay, he said. “The guy’s just drunk. He’s gone home now.” “How do you know he went home?” we asked, relieved, but skeptical. “He lives across the street.” Great.

So a month later we bought an adorable house on a shady, tree-lined street in Pasadena. And the first thing we did was put in a big wrought-iron gate and an alarm system.

And still, for over a year, every time I heard shouting outside, or even a loudly barking dog, I’d panic, just a little. My heart racing, I’d sit upright and try to make out what they were saying. The ghosts of the riots followed us clear from Los Angeles to Pasadena, invading our sleep and our perception of safety...but eventually went away.

(continued, next post)
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This series of posts was written as an entry in Scribbit's October Writeaway: Ghosts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have a complex, but I can do this!

I have (among other neuroses) a mothering complex. I have hinted at it here, here, and here. (And laughingly, here.) And now my lovely friend Heather has asked me (well, her readers) to post a list of the things I do great as a mom. Good luck! I've been putting it off for days. Partly because I can't think of more than one item. And then because, well, I read lists like Heather's and Jessica's, and they look like the best moms in the world, and so how can I possibly...

Enough, already.

Okay, so herein lie the roots of my complex: I was a working mom when our kids were small. I didn't feel like I had a choice. Even though I worked at home, I worked long, stressful hours. Hours that took me away from my kids. At a job that often kept me mentally distracted even when I was with them. So I look at all my wonderful stay-at-home mom friends and in some ways I'm insanely jealous. I feel like I'm playing catch-up at a game I don't even know most of the rules for. Like I'm playing along, but I'm missing half the cards and most of the really cool pieces. But I'm smiling and playing along, pretending to have a good time. And berating myself constantly. Because I am really, truly not good at this. And I don't like being not good at things. I'm entirely uncomfortable being, in fact, not the best. There. I said it.

For example, I like to think that I'm patient. And then I think about how often that patience comes from a deep-seated habit of just TUNING THEM OUT and I think, that doesn't count. Or I think how not afraid I am to make a big, giant fool out of myself just so I can hear them laugh. And I think, pandering for laughs doesn't cut it either. Or that the kids rarely watch network t.v. and we keep a lock on the theater room door? Dubious honor. Or that getting all three kids off to school on time – once – feels as heroic as climbing Mt. Everest? This is not impressive.

So I went to the experts. My kids. And this is what they told me. Verbatim.

The Princess: "You're a good cook, you don't yell at us (yay)....very often (that's more like it), you smell nice (that made me laugh out loud...but coming from the Princess, who insists on smelling me, literally revels in burying her nose somewhere on me almost every day, okay.) You give good back rubs. You're good at helping us with our practicing and our homework. You make us feel good about ourselves. You love us. "

The 17-year-old (who looks and acts just like Jim on The Office): "You make amazing food! I'll tell you the rest later -- gotta go get my car now."

Mr. Cool: "I hate you." (Me: mock puppy-dog pouting, whimpering.) "Just kidding. You know I'm kidding, right? Because you're the best thing in my life. I'm serious. The very best."

So, it suddenly occurs to me, here's what I do best as a mother. I make great kids. I have a studly seventeen-year-old who still kisses me good night every night, tells me he loves me every day, makes me laugh several times a day, and genuinely enjoys being with me. He works hard in school, works hard to improve himself, and has a sparkle in his eye and a very sweet, sensitive core.

I have a lovely 13-year-old princess who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, who lovingly includes other people in everything she does, who naturally nurtures and rescues and builds...and is surrounded by people who appreciate her. She is confident enough to stand up for herself and the people she loves. And she has somehow never lost the palpable sweetness she was born with.

I have the coolest nine-year-old on the planet, with drop-dead gorgeous eyes and a very adult sense of humor. He, too, makes me laugh several times a day...and he still wants to snuggle at night. Still wants me to walk outside with him at night to bring in his bike...even when he has his pocket knife out and at-the-ready. Still wants me to scratch his back and say prayers with him at bedtime. And greets me with wonderful hugs.

I have amazing children! So I must be doing something right...even though at times I'm not quite sure what that something is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Fragments: Oh, Shoot!

Okay, I am exhausted. But strangely peaceful and contented too.

I got so many terrific comments on my last post asking to see the paintings (thank you, everyone), I decided to shoot them and post them. (You'll just have to ignore the fact that most of them are not QUITE finished. And one is barely started.) But I hope you like them.

The top one is the one that's just begun (but I love all the swirly, watery stuff that's happening so far). If you look closely you can see what's eventually going to be a small fish and a giant sea turtle.

The ones on the left are paintings I worked on in my portrait class. They are: 1. Portrait of Ruth; 2. Lounging at Laguna; 3. Jeremiah and Sawyer ; and 4. Sleeping Princess.

The class was motivating and inspiring all week long, and today it became strangely gratifying. The other students in the class started coming to me for help and suggestions when it took the teacher too long to get to them. They also started to photograph my work in step-by-step stages. And yesterday the Society asked if my dad and I would be willing to team-teach a 3-day workshop for them next Spring. I expected NONE of that!

Last are the two that were accepted into the most recent Utah Watercolor Society show (runs through November 7 at the Finch Lane Gallery). The bottom one won a Juror's Award.

Here is my other favorite quote from Ted Nuttall:
"Some of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen are people."
(As a landscape painter, that helped me approach figurative painting with fresh eyes.)

And since we're talking about shooting, I highly recommend you check out this hilarious video from Gunfighter today. You can't believe what he shot!
(Apparently some kids never outgrow the need to blow things up.)
And to go with that, here's an actual quote from one of my kids last week:
"Mom, Do you have any hard drives we can smash?"
(Turns out they were making a video...but STILL...)

I was also thrilled to come home and see that THIS (pardon the link but I cannot bear to SHOOT one more thing! ) had arrived in the mail from the contest I won over at Temporary?Insanity. (Thanks, Kim. Thanks, Erin) I agree it is even better in real life than it is on screen. I love it!
Friday Fragments?
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Friday Fragments is the brainchild of Mrs4444 over at Half Past Kissin' Time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Up, Up and Away...

Last weekend my sweet and brave husband took all three of the kids up to Salt Lake for an overnighter, leaving me here...and free to paint! I hardly knew what to do with so much unscheduled and uninterrupted time! Once I got over the light-headed giddiness, I was able to make a strong beginning on a project I've been waiting to start for a long time. It was so exhilarating...even if I was up until the wee hours. Time flew by because I was loving what I was doing, and completely lost in the flow of it all. Literally.

All this week I'm spending my days (and one night as well) up in Salt Lake at a watercolor workshop. Today was fabulous! The teacher is nationally renowned, I've admire his work for a long time, and his demonstration turned my world upside-down and inside-out. His process is so very different from the results. It was astonishing to see how very slowly, meticulously and painstakingly he created this loose, splashy, spontaneous-looking painting. (I'm sure there's a metaphor for life in there somewhere, but I'm a bit too tired to attempt to verbalize it.) :)

So you won't be hearing from me much (if at all) this week...but I'll be back before you know it. (Hopefully with a mind-bending psychological thriller of an SOS story!) Until then...

Here's a great quote from the workshop today, which is also a good metaphor for life:

"Artistic expression is a spirit, not a method, a pursuit, not a settled goal, an instinct, not a body of rules."- Foreword, Group of 7 Exhibition of Paintings, exhibition catalog, Art Gallery of Toronto, 1922.

I also like this one:

"The creative process is in fact, a surrender to this great life force and intelligence that has shaped us all. It is the spirit of the great creator moving through us. If we let this happen, without fear and resistance, we can act spontaneously letting this energy flow through us and direct us. This is the spirit that informs our creativity and allows us to express it in our own unique way." --Marsha Stonehouse

Can you see why I love it so much?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

SOS Withdrawals: A Celestial Room With a View

My first attempt in bloglandia was a Soap Opera Sunday post. My friend Brillig had been encouraging me to blog...and the idea of posting a hilarious old boyfriend/dating story was too tempting to pass up. I put up one other post around the same time (just so I wouldn't have one lonely post up if anyone ventured over to read) and what resulted was astonishing. Some of my best friends in the blogosphere (most of whom were complete strangers at the time) (Brillig, Kimberly, Novembrance, Kateastrophe) showed up to comment on those two posts and have been coming back ever since.

So, it's Saturday, and the theme is brilliant: Long-distance Relationships. I've had more than my fair share of these! But I noticed no one's volunteered to host yet. There are no linkies. And I've been having such a ball with SOS lately (thank you everyone for joining me on some of these wild rides!) that I want to play again. Now. So for today, I'm re-posting that very first SOS post (which also happens to be about a double long-distance romance). Enjoy!

About a year after I broke up with Jack, (who it turns out was using me as his friend, confidante, and love interest during the week while making out with some other vixen on the weekends – a whole other soap opera story) his eccentric aunt called and wanted to line me up with someone. Weird, but I was open to it. The guy was from New York, which sounded exciting enough. Turns out he was the caretaker of someone else’s fabulous estate. So I went out with this guy when he was in town one weekend, and he was perfectly good-looking with impeccable manners and treated me great – spoiled me, in fact. Sounds wonderful, I know. So where’s the soap, you ask?

Well, he was also WAY older than I was. I don’t know how much for sure, but I was 23 or so and I think he must have been at least 30. Probably well on his way to 40. Besides the fact that this guy literally lived in a fantasy world, his age and his inexplicable into-me-ness scared me. Besides, he was a teensy-weensy bit straight-laced and, dare I say, boring? :) We’re totally talking Cecil, from A Room With A View. Well, thankfully he was on his way back to New York so Lucy Honeychurch here really didn’t have to worry about a thing. Or did I?

A couple of days later he called me from New York. It was flattering, but we didn’t really have anything to talk about. A day or so later he sent a dozen red roses. The next day he called me again. And on it went...lots of long-distance calls with not much to chat about. The roses were barely wilting and along came more gifts. And the next thing I know he’s made airline reservations for another trip out to visit.

“I guarantee you he’s coming out here with a ring,” says my ever-wise mother.

Holy cow! I started praying he’d find someone else. Literally.

I was involved in another long-distance romance at the same time. I was being written to, phone called, and successfully wooed by this other (younger, funnier) guy, named Jeff, from the opposite coast (California, to be exact). And Jeff, with whom I was rapidly falling head-over-heels, was planning to be in town the same weekend as Cecil. I had visions of one of those crazy Ginger Grant / Eva Grubb “Gilligan’s Island” episodes where I’d be frantically scurrying back and forth carrying on with two guys at the exact same time and trying to keep them on opposite sides of the island. But then it occurred to me that I could schedule things in advance and avoid all that awkwardness. So I booked most of the weekend with Jeff and saved a Tuesday night for Cecil. (Not proud of this...but better not to lead him on, right?)

So Cecil gets into town and calls to find out when I’m available, and I tell him Friday and Saturday are completely booked, and I had a deadline for work on Monday, but I’d love to see him on Tuesday. Well the weekend came and went and I had the time of my life with Jeff. Then Tuesday rolled around...and no Cecil. He stood me up! I totally did not get it. My heart was not remotely broken, I just didn’t understand how this guy could be so obviously smitten...calling me non-stop and sending me flowers and trinkets and long wordy letters...and then just disappear.

But it all came to light a few weeks later when I got a letter in the mail from Cecil. He explained (in his perfect longhand) that he figured if he flew all the way out to see me and I couldn’t make any time for him until Tuesday there was something wrong. (duh) So Tuesday morning he went to the temple, and there waiting in the celestial room after the session was the girl of his dreams. They met and talked – and he asked her to marry him right then and there! He even slipped a ring on her finger. A ring that likely was intended for me.

Man! That was a close one! But what can I say – my prayers were answered. And so were his. (And 20 years later, I continue to be head-over-heels in love with Jeff.) :)

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Note: After I posted this, Brillig announced that 2 Hearts has offered to host. So head on over there for the rest of the linkies. Mwah!