Sunday, January 22, 2012

First Batch

Chocolate mint. Her Fav.

Not bad for my first attempt using a new process.

Sunday Afternoon

As I was standing in the kitchen finishing the dishes just now, a thought came to mind. Perhaps it was that I was cleaning a paint scraper, getting ready to make a batch of fudge. Anyway for some reason my mind was taken on a trip back through time to a similar quiet summer Sunday afternoon about 26 years ago.

That day, I was less efficient than today. I decided to take a quick nap after lunch, do the dishes later.

[Maybe that was just my habit. I was reminded of dish-doing when I recently reviewed a 22-year-old journal: my daughter asked my visiting father why he was doing our dishes? "We never do them until we have stacks and stacks!" she explained...]

Something brought me out of my napping slumber. Perhaps "Sister Christian" stopped playing below our window, or an uncharacteristically cool breeze blew in that open window. Something. I realized that she was taking an afternoon bath.

"Where are the kids?" I wondered.

I must've heard something in the kitchen. Because I went in to investigate.

Oh my.

There they were. My three-and-a-half-year-old son and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, in their diapers, sitting on top of the kitchen table. She with an almost empty, family-sized, Country Crock upside down on her head. A Country Crock that had been opened just before lunch.

Margarine covered the table top, the kids, the wall beside the table.

Did I mention the kids? Covered. In margarine.

Smiling at me.

It is TREMENDOUSLY difficult to be stern when all you want to do is laugh and take a picture.

No camera. [Seems oddly thematic...]

I called to her. She joined me in a rush.

We decided to put them in the tub.

Margarine floats.

Friday, January 13, 2012

No Camera

It's been a beautiful, crisp morning. As I was on my regular break, approaching the park at the edge of the Jordan River, I heard some strange bird calls. I noticed a large bird flying across the park from south to north, but the sounds didn't seem to be coming from it. I saw large clumps in a couple trees. I figured they were nesting remnants.

When I walked across the entrance of the park, I glanced up at a tree to my left. To my surprise there was a large, stately bald eagle sitting there, about 30 feet up. I continued on my normal route, my heart full of thanks for the opportunity to have some face-time with that beautiful bird. I walked back to the base of the tree again.

This time I clicked a bit and Mr. Eagle paused in the survey from his majestic perch. He took a look my way. I thanked him for stopping by and a bit later, took my leave.

An SUV was entering the park as I walked toward the street. I waved the car to a stop and the driver hesitantly opened her window. I leaned toward her and gestured back to the tree.

"There's a bald eagle up there," I told her quietly.

She repeated my message to her passenger and they excitedly parked near the base of the tree.

When I returned to work, I mentioned the Eagle to my co-workers. I figured someone might want to go see, so I retrieved the camera from my cubicle.

A few minutes later we were back at the park. Getting out of the car, the lady in the SUV told us that the eagle had flown off towards West Vally City.

Her husband, a preacher, hadn't believed her when she first told him that she saw an eagle.

Maybe I'll carry a camera with me more often.

Still, I have some wonderful pictures in my head. Classics.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Small Talk

Ever since I've been young, I can talk on the phone.

No problem.

Need to call a cab? Need to call the doctor? No problem.

Call a possible cousin out of the blue to ask personal questions about their family? No problem.

So what's my problem?

I don't do small talk.

This evening I told her I would tell her a story.

Maybe a story about one of my gifts. Everybody has gifts. We'd just been watching episodes from the first season of Heroes. They have Hollywood-style gifts. I imagine that I have some, too, not Hollywood-style, flashy, make-me-wealthy-powerful-or-famous gifts; just wonderful, good, gifts

When I was young, eight or nine or so, living in Golden Valley, it was time for a family reunion. For some reason, my mom and I ended up at home by ourselves. Nobody else in the house. That didn't happen often, just me and my mom being together. Unless I was sick... But this time I was healthy. I think most everyone else was already at Mille Lacs Lake getting ready for the reunion.

Or something.

Anyway, we were at home alone and mom got a call from her sister. It's one of those memories that stand out clear and strong: mom on the phone at her desk by the kitchen, talking long-distance with her sister; me in the front room on the couch in front of the big picture window, looking out across the street up the hill to Mr. Ewald's (?) house, listening to mom talk. Long-distance calls didn't happen very often in those days. So this was a red-letter event.

Mom and Aunt Joan talked and talked. I have no recollection of what they spoke about. Just catching-up, family-story stuff. Small talk.

The value of this memory is not the content of the discussion but the comfort I felt as I listened to my mom and Aunt. I truly enjoyed listening to their conversation and cherish those peaceful quiet moments in time.

Lately I've realized this is a theme. I love to listen to my wife talk on the phone, too; to anybody: her family, our family, friends. Anybody. I much prefer listening to her speak with someone, than being the speaker myself, though I do toss a thought into the mix at times as I follow the flow of the talking.

As I look at my life, I have come to the realization that I don't do small talk. If I talk with someone, there has to be a reason, and I know that no one has any desire to listen to the minutia detailing the trivia in my life. So I am comfortable calling strangers and talking with them about their family relationships, but find little use in opening my mouth at a party other than to smile and greet folks.

So my gift, you ask?

I'm an Anti-small-talker. It seems to die when I'm a primary contributor.

Everything has an opposite. I know that there are many people who thrive on making small talk.

Take my grandson, for instance. Please.

My talents don't flow that way. Apparently that's why I talk so much when the home teachers visit. I figure they want to talk about the gospel and family history. So I do...

That I can do.