Archive | July 2010

If it’s not one thing, it’s ten thousand others.

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately.  It just seems that right now, whenever something goes right for me, two other things go wrong.

My computer broke again.  I think it’s just the power supply, but I want the B-I-L to look at /fix it before I spend any money needlessly.  The problem is the timing–the B-I-L’s family is going camping tomorrow, and it’s my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary this weekend, so he’ll have no free time, then next weekend is G’s 4th birthday…yeah.

At least he’s through with school.

Speaking of school, I’m trying desperately to get a hold of my councilor.  I’ve gotten very familiar with her voice on the answering machine.  My goal was to go in and see her today before coming up to see Sis…except she’s out of the office again today.  After taking a 4 day weekend.  And being unreachable yesterday.

I’m so frustrated.

So, I don’t know when I’ll be able to blog again–I’m on my sister’s computer now, and I’ll be able to use Dad’s over the weekend…and maybe I’ll get lucky and whatever is wrong with my computer can be easily fixed and I’ll have it back tonight.

In the mean time, I’ll be trying desperately not to burst into tears too often.

Desert Girl

This is a Plinky post in answer to the prompt “Begin writing the first chapter of your memoir”

There is an importance to place. While we are who we are, where we are effects us in strange ways. I would not be the person I am today had I grown up on the beach, or in a forest. I am a desert girl.

The desert stretches out around me.

Grass gives way to sagebrush, which in turn yields to the brittle cedar and juniper, and all yield to the white hardpan where nothing can grow. Hills rise and fall, and turn into mountains.

Streaks of black volcanic rock jut out in places, giving variety to the endless, drab beige that otherwise surrounds me.

I feel like I’m the only human in miles.

I feel like I’m home.

I’m a desert girl, born and bred. This place is in my soul. My ancestors came here on order from Brigham Young, and, as a testament to their faith, stayed.

I relate to the desert that is the Great Basin. It is not inherently beautiful. It is difficult to get to know, difficult to love. But once you learn to see the beauty, it never leaves you.

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Sisters

Okay, first the random, administrative stuff.  I don’t get tons of comments, but it kind of freaks me out when I see my picture next to a comment my mom made.  So, until I can get back down to my parent’s house, and tell their computer to log me out of every web browser, I’m turning off the avatars in the comments.

I know, you’re all crushed.  But it shouldn’t be for more than a week.

I guess I didn’t know how stressed these last two weeks had made me until this afternoon (er, yesterday afternoon.  I missed the midnight cut off to have this post on the 25th).  The Roommate had invited a bunch of friends over for dinner.  She did invite me to join them, but I was feeling a bit shaky from…everything.

So, you know how I don’t handle crowds?  Well, I found out today that it’s even worse when they’re all speaking a language I don’t understand.   I slipped out under the guise of taking the dogs for a walk, and headed up to Sis’s house to pick up some things that I managed to leave their last night.  Notably, my camera and my sanity.

I don’t know what I’d do without her.  Things were hectic when I got there–they had some family friends over–again, lots of kids running around, but after the company left, and after her kids went to bed, she and I had a good long talk, and she managed to calm me down, and ease some of my anxiety.

I really hope that when school starts, and I get into a routine, that life will get easier.  I don’t handle change well, and right now, I’m such a stage of flux.  And the last two weeks have been…emotionally difficult.

As horrible as depression is all around, I think the worst thing it does is make me doubt myself.  Even things that I know I can do well, I doubt my ability in.  I see the mistakes I make, but not the triumphs.   Depression sucks every bit of self confidence I have out, until I’m so convinced I’m going to fail, that I don’t even try.  And I guess that’s why I have a hard time telling my family “no”, because when I get into those bad ruts, they, especially Sis, are the ones that pull me out.  Sometimes, kicking and screaming, but no matter how I fight, thus far, it’s always turned out for the better.

Next time, though, you never know…

I’m not complaining. Really.

Dear Family:  Do you think you can work on spreading events and emergencies where you need Cori’s help out a little bit more?  Thanks.

After making it home from Mom’s house, and not getting nearly enough rest, I got a call from Sis, wondering why I wasn’t at her house.

See, the Bro-in-Law just received his Master’s degree–while working full-time and trying to raise a family.  Which calls for a celebration, right?

That happened yesterday.  And somehow, even though I hadn’t even given a firm “yes”, I ended up at their house 6 hours before the party started, helping watch the kids, bake and grocery shop.

Of course, this all let to a rather amusing conversation:

G: Why you here?

Me: Because your Mommy knows how to push my buttons, and I don’t know how to tell her no.

G: It’s easy.  You say “no”, just like that.

Ahh, to be four.  And male.  And not burdened with soul-crushing feelings of guilt and familial duty.

The party itself was fun, I guess.  I always feel out of place at gatherings.  But, there were lots of cute kids running around, and I had my dogs with me, which is always a help.  And, it’s not like there was anyone there that I didn’t like, but still…

One of the kids asked me where my kids were.   Yeah.

I’ve got at least two more weeks of this until things calm down a bit.  Next weekend is a family party celebrating my Grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary, and the weekend after that is a party for G’s  4th birthday.

Folks, I’m willing to help.  Really.  Just don’t ask me today.

Clayborne Montgomery Elder

While working at my Mom’s house, I remembered that she has a book on the history of Leamington, Utah, and wondered if it might have information about Claybourne Elder.

For those of you just joining us, Claybourne Montgomery Elder is my 3rd Great-Grandfather on my Father’s side.  He was just a name in a giant list of ancestors, until I found out he was buried in the small town that my mom’s ancestors helped settle.

I’ve been trying to find information about him ever since–but for some reason, forgot that people wrote things down in books.  And that Mom has a large collection of books detailing family history, and history of the area.

Anyway, I pulled out the Leamington book, and was thrilled to find a (albeit small) section on Claybourne Elder.   Best of all, it is complete with a picture!

This is what the book says about Claybourne Montgomery Elder

John Claybourne Montgomery Elder

John Clayebourne M. Elder was the son of David Elder and Louise Montgomery.

He was born June 2, 1827, in Bradford Tennessee.  His brother and sister both died at a young age.  His father also passed away, leaving he and his mother alone.   His mother took Claybourne and moved to Nauvoo.  He became acquainted with Joseph Smith, and they had many ball games together.   He was well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, and heard the shot that killed him.

One day he and his friends were flying kites when the mob came looking for Joseph Smith.  They asked the boys if they had seen him, and they said, “Yes, we saw Joseph and Hyrum going to heaven yesterday on a white horse, and they[sic] were sending them their supper in a baskets tied to their kites.”  The mob left in discust [sic].

In 1850 at the age of 23, he crossed the plains with an ox team company, and upon his arrival in Utah, settled in Grantsville.  He served through the Echo Canyon episode of the Indian War and also served in the Walker and Black Hawk Indian Wars.

In Grantsville, he met and married Mary Caroline Pratt (random Cori note: my Grandmother) at the age of 31 in the year 1858.   To this union, five children were born.  In November 1860, he married Martinia Peterson of Denmark.  To this union seven children were born.

In 1862 he was called by Brigham Young to help quell the Indian disturbances in that section of the Territory.  He had two wives and three children.

In about 1863 he married Francis Elizabeth Pratt.  She was Mary’s sister.  She was 19 years younger than him.  To this union, eleven children were born.  A short time later he met and married Nancy Ott.  She was a widow with one son, David.

Claybourne moved 23 times in one year, and he said it was not a good time for moving either.

In about 1873 while living in Dixie, (random Cori note: the south-west corner of Utah.  Where my Dad’s family is from.) confusion developed, and Martina secured a divorce and took her children and left Dixie and went to Kingston, Utah and settled on a homestead.  She dited in about 1912, and is buried in Junction, Utah.

Claybourne stayed in St. George until 1888 where he sawed wood and lumber at his own saw mill.  He sawed all the lumber for the St. George Temple.  Claybourne then moved to Panguich where he lived for a while.

He then moved to Hinkley and lived there for five years.  He then moved to Ferron, Emery Co., and lived there until he was 80 years old. (Random Cori note:  This is where Mary Caroline died and is buried.)  While in Ferron, he met and married a Mrs. Plusfer in 1908 at the age of 81.  They didn’t live together very long.  (Random Cori note: This was after 1890 Official Deceleration, in which the Church banned all new polygamous marriages.  Claybourne had buried four of his wives, and was divorced from a fifth at the time he married Mrs. Plusfer.)  He then went to Leamington and lived with his son Parley for the last three years of his life.  He is buried in Leamington.

Claybourne was a very good musician and really made the fiddle talk.  He played for many a square dance in every community he lived in throughout his life.

He joined the Church when he was 17 years old, and retained a living testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.  He always wore high top boots and a large hat.  He was also an excellent carpenter.  He helped build the prophet’s mansion, and he made the benches for the school house in Hinkley in 1878.  He also helped build the school house there.

He had 24 children in 28 years, his first being born in 1859 and the last in 1887.

Claybourne passed away at the home of his son in Leamington, Millard County, on January 9, 1912.


I don’t know who wrote this, or where they got their information.  I’ve also found evidence of as many as three additional wives–a Nancy Ott, a Nancy Williams and a Nancy Williams Ferguson who weren’t mentioned in the article.    Nancy Ott would have been his first wife.  Which makes sense, 31 is really old for a Mormon man to be getting married for the first time in those days.  Heck, 31 is still really old for a Mormon to be getting married for the first time.

I’m happy to have found this, and a little dismayed that it took me as long as it did to you know, actually pull out that particular book and look for it.

It’s good to get those reminders that the vast list of ancestors that other people have found and tied to my family tree are more than just names and dates.  They lived and died, had joys and heartbreaks, and had interesting stories of their own to tell.

Fried Zucchini

It’s been one of those days when I’ve been busy, but unless you want to hear the details about cleaning bathrooms, I don’t have anything to post about.

However, Dad’s garden is continuing to produce bountifully, and for dinner tonight we had fried zucchini.  And fry sauce.  With watermelon for dessert.

So, I know there’s as many recipes for fried zucchini as there are people who fry zucchini, but I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with myself.  I don’t really know how to fry food–I don’t know what temperature the oil should be at, I don’t know what the consistency of the batter should be like, and I don’t know the best methods for putting the food into and taking it out of the oil.    This is probably a good thing.

Today’s fried zucchini is my very first attempt ever at deep fat frying something without someone looking over my shoulder.  And I’m happy with how it turned out:

Okay, the picture’s not that great, but you get the idea.

To make this, I took one large (and I mean ginormous) zucchini, and cut it into wedges.  The batter is 1 c plus a bit of flour, 1 c milk, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 c milk.  I also put some Mrs. Dash in the batter, and used a wire whisk to mix it all up.

I heated the oil until dropping water in it made it spit and sputter, then I coated the zucchini in the batter.  I found the easiest way to do that was to put the wedges in the batter and stir them around.  I the fried them until they were golden and crispy.

I probably should have cut the zucchini a bit smaller, because some of the larger pieces weren’t done, but live and learn, right?

As for the fry sauce…if you don’t live in Mormon-dom (Utah, and parts of Idaho and Nevada) or have never visited a Mom-and-Pop fast food joint in that area, there’s a good chance you don’t know what you’re missing out on.  Fry sauce is simply a mixture of one part ketchup and two parts mayonnaise, and is quite frankly, delicious with all things fried.

Here we go again.

Yesterday, while I was complaining about not being able to sleep, my Mom found herself in the emergency room.

Yeah, that totally put me in my place.

Mom’s not going to like me telling the world this, but, here goes anyway…

Mom has hip dysplasia.  Or she did, before the hip replacement surgerys.  All three of them.  I inherited it–though my bad hip is in better shape than Mom’s good hip.

One of her new hips isn’t tight enough, and can pop out of joint.  That’s what happened yesterday.  She went first, to the emergency room local to her, but they weren’t comfortable popping it back into place, so they sent her to the closest big hospital–an hour and a half away.  Add in all the administrative stuff, and that makes it two hours away.

She’s okay–really sore, but okay.  I, however, have been recruited to come help take care of her, and clean house in preparation for the party that is being thrown for my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.

So…yeah.  I’m at my parent’s house again, for a few days, at least.  We’ll see how it goes.  Max and Lulu aren’t to happy to be back here again, but at least this time, there are no little hands to pull ears and tails.

Which is good, because I do too much of that as it is.

Anatomy of a bad night

12 am:  Decide it’s time for bed, and begin preparing for it.  Walk the dogs, brush the teeth, take a shower, wash face, etc.

12:30 am: go to bed.  Remember you have to make a phone call in the morning to set up an appointment with your academic advisor.  Get out of bed.  Find the card with your academic advisor’s name, phone number, and office location on it.  Realize that you don’t know what the two-letter abbreviation for the building where your advisor’s office is stands for.  Spend the next 5 minutes looking for a map of campus,  then the next 15 unsuccessfully looking for the building abbreviation.   Decide that you can’t find it because you’re too tired, and put it off until the morning.

12:50 am: Go back to bed.  Stress about school.  Toss and turn for an hour.

2 am: Get up, and try to write.  Realize that everything you’re writing is either too melodramatic, or junk.  Get distracted while on the computer, and play Facebook games.

3 am: Get startled a) by the time, and b) that your father has gotten up and is checking Facebook before he goes to work.  Be embarrassed by the fact that you haven’t gone to sleep yet.  Close Facebook, and try to go to bed. Toss and turn.

3:30 am: Unable to sleep, realize  how bad the dogs smell, and that you’ve been threatening to bathe them for a week.  Get up, and give the dogs a bath.

4 am: Be grateful that your downstairs neighbor is out-of-town, and that the roommate is spending the night at a friend’s house while Max and Lulu try to out run their wet fur.

4:30 am: spread a towel over the blankets where the dogs usually sleep to avoid getting the wet dog smell on your bed, now that they’ve burned off all that energy.  Read for a bit. Listen to the dogs snore.

4:45 am: decide that  you’re now tired enough for sleep, and shut off the light.  Just as you are falling asleep, hear Lulu yelp in her sleep, get up, and want to cuddle with you.  You are now, once again, fully awake.

5 am: having calmed Lulu down, pull the computer back out.  Start a new town on the Sims, and spend then next hour and a half setting up said town, while doing some more bad/overly melodramatic writing.

6:30 am: realize it’s getting light outside, and check the clock.  Debate the pros and cons of getting dressed to take the dogs out again.  Stall.

6:45 am: get up, get dressed, take the dogs out.  Recoil like a vampire from the early morning light. (12:30 pm realize while writing the post that this is potentially a bad simile, and spend a ridiculous amount of time researching vampires for a throw-away joke, only to realize, that you don’t really care.)

7 am: Go back to bed.  Hear the roommate come home, have the dogs go and investigate.

7:15 am: The dogs, having been satisfied that they know the person who just entered our home, now come back to you.  Give in to Lulu’s begging to be picked up and placed on the bed.   Expect Max to steal the comfortable spot you’ve just made for yourself while picking Lulu up, then get annoyed when you tell/force him to move.

7:20 am: hear the roommate leave for work.

7:45 am: finally fall asleep.

11 am: wake up when someone sends you a text message.  Decide that it’s too late to go back to sleep, drift back to sleep for a few minutes anyway.

11:45 am: wake up again, decide you absolutely need to get up.  Expect mocking stares from the dogs as you stumble into the bathroom to “begin” your day.

12 pm: start blogging about the horrible night you had.

I’m not very good at following directions.

You know, maybe I should change that title, just in case a future professor or employer reads this.

Or at the very least, explain.

So, Sis spent the week at Mom’s house, and, apparently, Sis can’t take the kids to Mom’s house unless I go along to help.  (I’m not complaining, Sis, at least not very much.)

I had bought a crochet book called “Crobots” a few days earlier, and Sis wanted me to bring it down so she, Mom and I could do some crocheting.  (I’m a little disgusted with that Amazon link–I didn’t pay full price for the book, but what I paid is closer to full price than what Amazon lists)

The ‘bot I chose to do is called Mechabot.  This is what he’s supposed to look like:

This is what mine looks like:

Yeah… you wouldn’t have been able to see the connection unless I told you it was there, right?

So, here’s the thing; the yarn and the hook I used was much bigger than the book recommended, and once I got the basic head made, I pulled out buttons for eyes, and, while choosing the sparkly blue ones, I just tossed them onto the head, and I liked the off-centered look. Once I had the eyes on, I decided that my robot needed antenna, and used them to balance out the off centered eyes.

While looking for eyes, I found a sparkly heart button, and decided that my robot needed a heart–and the springs and hardware didn’t look good with a pink sparkly heart.

And Sis stole the book to start working on her project–so I pretty much just winged the body.

Now, here’s the thing, when it comes to stuff like crocheting, or cooking, for that matter, I think that directions are more of guidelines.  I think you need to know what you are doing, but once you do, you can and should stray from the outlined path, and figure out something new.  That’s how I learn, anyway.

Right now, I’m just glad to be home–almost as glad as Max and Lulu are to be away from little hands.

G and the Best Toy Ever

Yesterday, Mom and G went on an adventure–Mom had promised to buy G a toy because his birthday is coming up.  I asked to go with them, because the toy store they were going to is close to my house, and I was worried that my plants needed water.

On the way up, we were talking to G about what toy he was going to pick–and made sure he knew that he had to choose the very best one.  Mom and I started talking about what we thought was the very best toy.  Mom thought she probably would have chosen a doll.

I remembered the toy I always wanted but never got.  See, growing up in the middle of nowhere, trips to the toy store was a rare treat.  Sis and I would memorize the toy section of the various catalogs that came home, choosing what we thought were the best toys ever.  Sometimes, we would get those toys, but most often, we did not.

I chose, as my Best Toy Ever, an artist set that was sold in the JC Penney catalog year after year.  I was happy to see they still sell it online.   I never got this art set–I think Mom used the very legitimate excuse that it would be too messy.

I think that half the reason I still remember this toy as the one that pinned after is that I never got it.

I’ve gathered all of the various art supplies included over the years, and kind of ironically, my favorite medium is watercolor pencil–which isn’t included here.

G was as serious as I’ve ever seen a three-year-old as he was wandering up and down the aisles of the toy store.  We finally had to remind him that he could choose something, then if he saw a better toy, he could put the one he already chose back.

First, he chose a firehouse play set, complete with fire truck, fire fighters, and noise.  Then, he announced  “AUNT CORI!  I WANT TO PUT THE FIRE STATION BACK!”  He then chose a dump truck, that would pick up the garbage can, make noise and talk.

But then, we found The Very Best Toy of All.  We found football players!

G ended up choosing four collectible football player figurines, which, of course, being three, he didn’t realize that they were supposed to be placed in their stands and put on the shelf to look at. They’re shaped like actual pro players, but me, being as sports deficient as I am didn’t recognize any of the names.  On the way back to Mom’s house, I had to sit in the back seat and play with him.  You know, until the motion sickness kicked in.

So, I was thinking about this last night, and I was wondering, if you, dear reader, were to choose your best toy ever, what would you choose?  What’s the one toy you wanted but never got, or what was/is your favorite toy?  I’d love to hear about it.

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