Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

It finally got here -- my 53rd birthday. Yikes! How did this happen? Who is that old lady in the mirror looking back at me? I was talking with my former roomie from BYU this afternoon, and we both agreed that whenever we talk it feels as if the years have melted away and we're 19 again. Neat how friends can do that for you.

I was thinking this morning of how I came to get my Irish name. Maureen Lee is Irish for Mary Elizabeth. I much prefer the Irish version. My dad was in the Air Force and was transferred to Japan during the Korean War. He was stationed at a base outside of Tokyo called Feamcom. My mother did not go with him. While he was there waiting for her to save up enough money to join him, he got a little bank and wrote Maureen's Diaper Service on it. All the guys in his platoon signed their names to it, and they would put their loose change into it at the end of the day.

When my mother arrived he moved out of the platoon and they rented a little house in the town of Tachikawa and he brought the little piggy bank with him and presented it to her. "Who's Maureen?" she asked. She got pregnant at Christmas and the following September I was born. My Dad just liked the name Maureen Lee. To this day whenever he addresses anything to me that's what he uses; the full name.

I always liked that story. Fifty-three years later it's still fun to remember that my dad was planning for me before my mom was even there in Japan.

Friday, September 26, 2008


If you have a garden and a library,
you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
106 BC – 43 BC

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've been thinking .......

I've been thinking a lot lately about how as a society we've become so judgemental. I read things in magazines and newspapers and people are just so picky! They criticize everything from hairstyles, to what shoes you wear, to lipstick to size to your taste in music, etc. etc. etc.

You know what I think? I think we've been simonized. Not the old floor cleaner junk from the 1970s, but Simon Cowell. All these crazy reality shows that everyone watches makes us think we can sit in judgement on everyone around us. Simon Cowell, from American Idol, has gotten a lot of attention for being cruel and it feels like it's spilling out over all of us.

I mean, really, how much does it matter what someone else does as long as they aren't hurting you? I say, if you're happy and it's not hurtful to your family and friends and those around you, then enjoy yourself! And who cares what Tim Gunn and Simon Cowell think!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rubik's Champion

Kevin has a new passion that I am finding amusing. He's learned how to solve Rubik's Cube. Every day, several times a day, he'll hand me his cube and ask me to jumble it up for him. It takes him less than five minutes to put it back to rights, so we go over this routine a lot during the course of an evening.

As AJ is growing up, so is Kevin. He went to a party Saturday night that a friend of his held in honor of homecoming. He also discovered Twister at that party and declared it an awesome fun game! He now wants his own copy of Twister, and I fear that he may expect me to play with him. If you never see me again, I'll be in the basement passed out on the Twister mat!

My boys were so much fun when they were little, and as the years have passed they continue to be a source of joy and fun for me. Who knew teenaged boys were so neat?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Son the Elder

My oldest son, Arland James (AJ), was ordained an Elder today. I am so proud of him and his accomplisments up to this point in his life. Brother Darrell McGowan in our ward ordained him and gave him a copy of his priesthood line of authority that goes back to the Saviour. It is overwhelming to look at it and to see my son's name at the top of that page.

When you think your life is so completely full of blessings that you can't imagine Heavenly Father giving you anything else, He blesses you yet again. That is the way I feel today. My heart is bursting with love and gratitude for all that He has given me.

AJ pointed out to me that we now have the Melchezidek Priesthood in our home, which means he can give us blessings if we need them. To think that the little baby who was not expected to live now is an Elder in the Lord's church leaves me awed by how the Lord moves in our lives. Surely He has some plans for this young man.

Friday, September 19, 2008


We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.

Abigail Adams

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The New Book is Finished!

I have finished writing my newest book. I am very excited about this one, and am going to be printing a "pass along" copy of it to share with those who wish to read it. I need to work on polishing it before sending it off to agents and publishers. I am hoping to find readers who are willing to read it and give me their feedback on: inconsistencies, typos, problems with plotline, things of that nature. If you're interested let me know. Here is a brief description of the book:

In the Company of Women is the story of one year in a group of seven women who are brought together when they join a women’s book club at their library. They are in a variety of stages and ages of their lives, but as they each face a different trial they realize that true friendship has no boundaries, nor does it have limitations.

Living in a small town in Colorado the women range in age from 28 to 77. They are divorced, widowed, and married. They are mothers, as well as longing to be mothers. They face health problems, marriage difficulties and financial situations they are not always prepared for.

The friends pull together to get each other through these difficulties they face with humor, love and their collective strengths. They teach each other how to let go of the past, how to embrace the future, and ultimately how to forgive not only those who have hurt them, but themselves for what they perceive as their personal failures. It is the story of how women sustain and complete each other and help each other to recognize what they really have.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

John Steinbeck

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering Jake

When the boys were 5 and 3 we stopped by a house one day that had a sign out front that said "Puppies--$25". We were taken into the back yard where a bundle of little fur balls came tumbling out and running around the yard. Except for one little guy, who glued himself to AJ's heels and never left him as he walked around looking at all the puppies. Finally he looked down at the little black puppy and proclaimed that he had a nice smile and wanted to take him home.

He named him Jake and from that day on he was AJ's dog. He loved all of us, but AJ was his boy. If we yelled at AJ he tried to lunge at us. Anyone came near the back yard when the boys were out playing he turned into Cujo to keep those boys safe. When we moved to Colorado he travelled with a horse transport and charmed the owners so much they hoped we wouldn't come claim him once he arrived in Colorado Springs. At 65 pounds he thought he was a lap dog and always tried to climb into my lap. He was our friend and or protector for over 12 years.

We lost Jake in March of 2007, but I still miss him. I had a dream about him last night. He was young again, no grey on his muzzle. I asked him if he had come by to check on us. He smiled at me, that cute smile of his, and as I told him how much I loved him and missed him, he slowly disappeared.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Friendship Anniversary

September 9th is Admissions Day in California; the date it became a state. When I was a kid it was also the last day of summer vacation as school always started the day after it.

It is a special day for me this year. My best friend (BFF) and I met in our 8th grade English class in September 1968. We always celebrate our "anniversary of friendship" and this year we celebrate 40 years of friendship.

We were both talkers. Our teacher, Mr. South (for whom I will forever be grateful) got tired of our talking after a few days, and moved us next to each other right in front of his desk so he could keep an eye on us. Who would have thought that all this time later we would still be talking? And emailing and text messaging and .......

She is the sister of my heart; the keeper of my secrets and dreams. I truly believe that we were friends in the pre-existence because from the day we met it was like we had always known each other.

The photo is one taken the summer after we graduated from high school. We were 17 and were spending a week up at Lake Tahoe in a cabin on the lake. I think we look pretty cute, but the memories and the friendship that we have shared sustains me and enriches me. I wish for all of us a relationship like that.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all

And sweetest in the gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea
Yet never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me

Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

Have any of you seen that movie "Fried Green Tomatoes"? It's a great book and they did a good job in transferring the story to film. Anyway, I thought I would share a good recipe for making aforementioned tomatoes. If any of you have gardens of your own you might give them a try!

(Southern Style)

1 cup cornmeal
½ cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Oil for frying
4 or 5 firm green tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour and sugar. Dredge both sides of tomato in mixture. Press slices FIRMLY into the cornmeal mixture to make a good coating.

Add oil to heavy skillet until depth is ¼ inch. Heat over medium high heat. Fry a few slices at a time, about 2 minutes on each side.

When both sides are golden brown, remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Makes 4 servings. YUMMY!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day is a Special Day ....

I don't know if things were different when you were a kid, but when I was going to school it always started after Labor Day. For my kids it starts a month earlier and Labor Day is just a three day weekend, not the portal to another school year.

But still, there's something about the whole holiday that remains, for me at least, a bittersweet reminder that summer is coming to an end. It's the last hurrah before the leaves start to turn and the weather cools down.

Autumn is the beginning of a whirlwind of activity that keeps us going from now until the end of the year. In our family we have three birthdays in the fall, and then there's Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course Christmas. Fall also means the first of the band concerts and football games, all those comfort foods we save for colder days like meatloaf and shepherd's pie, home baked cookies and hot chocolate, and pulling out our big cozy sweaters and sweatshirts again. I do like this time of year.

That doesn't mean it isn't hard to say goodbye to summer. The memories come with us and they're fun to revisit when it's freezing outside. Hyacinths to feed our souls....