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    bottled Judy for Christmas, please

    It felt like early Christmas today.  I looked at my blog & discovered comments from my Aunt Judy.  Those of you who have met her remember her still.  Guaranteed.  Judy Naegle is not the type of person one forgets.  I don’t imagine that she’s ever walked into a room - store, restaurant, whatever - and not been instantly noticed.  She makes people laugh…to the point of crying.  She makes people cry…to the point of laughing (oh yes, there’s limitless magic in that).  More importantly, she makes people want to Live Big. 

    We shared a basement office teaching at Heritage Academy – “the basement bitches”.  Paragraphs & pages wouldn’t begin to relate what she did for me during those years.  And I was one of hundreds.  Many times I walked in on her comforting a someone in tears.  Countless times I heard students say, “Why can’t you do that (there were many that’s for many occasions) more like Mrs. Naegle?”  Always, I was inspired watching her Inspire. 

    Well, Mrs. Naegle moved on from Heritage, and I stayed.  She didn’t get to see all the faces that came back in search of her (& solace) in the basement.  But come they did.  They marched in with expectation, gratitude, love.  They remembered books, quotes, poems that had changed them in their deepest places – all given for that purpose by a brilliant & knowing woman.

    I have no innate charisma…people have never flocked to me…I often prefer invisibility.  But, thinking about Aunt Judy makes me want to act Big, draw others to me, so I can give More, inspire More, teach tears to laugh. 

    I’d like to send her a chemistry lab for Christmas…lock her in for a couple days, hoping she comes out with a rare concoction – her own special brew of personal charisma.  I’d buy a box of bottles for me&mine, then many more to share all around.  The world would be a better place by far.  


    a gentle reminder

    I was headed downstairs yesterday morning and Aidan came running after me.  "Mom, mom, you forgot your hairstyle."  I turn around and he's holding one of those claw hair clip things.  Wow...I've come a long way from going to the salon every two weeks to this moment of realization that my defining "hairstyle" is a claw.   I comb my hair sometimes, yes, and I do own a very nice pink flat iron, but most days it's just the claw. 

    Thank you Aidan for the wake up call...I'll have to give you a gentle reminder in return someday if your present style preferences persist.

    Cyndee's photos March - June 2006 236.jpg  


    tribute to Shadow

    Kelly reminded me that my family had our own Hanukkah miracle when I was younger.  It didn’t involve excess of oil or defeating of Greeks, but a silver toy poodle named Shadow.  This is actually what I set out to write about yesterday, but I got too carried away in tangents. 

    Shadow was a Christmas present from my dad (a dog lover) to my mom (not a dog lover) when I was 11.  Mom opened the gift, slapped Dad and walked away.  She wasn’t in love, but the rest of us were.  I remember Shadow as a tiny black ball of fuzz that day.  He became part of the family & as he is now gone, the legends definitely need to be written into permanence. 

    Depending on the year, the money, the level of busy, sometimes our Hanukkah celebrations included 8 days of gifts, while other times we merely told the story & lit the menorah each night.  This was a gift year.  Seven blue bags with white stars of David were lined up on the fireplace.  Each day Cyndee housed a present in each bag.  We came home to socks, toothbrushes, pens&paper, treats…nothing elaborate, but something to look forward to for sure. 

    It was the 3rd of 4th day of the celebration.  The gift of the day was Nestle Crunch candy bars.  They were put in a bag, to be dispersed later.  When the later came, the candy bars could not be found.  But every mother is an amateur forensic scientist.  It didn’t take Cyn long to discover the bag that had held the candy bars.  And it didn’t take long to discover that said bag had been ripped by canine teeth.  Cyndee was furious.  That damn dog.  Ruining Hanukkah.  We lit the candles anyway I’m sure & later went off to bed. 

    I don’t remember who got to their room first or where the discovery originated, but I do know for a fact that as each of us children got to our beds we found a gift – a Nestle Crunch candy bar.  Each piece was faintly imprinted with Shadow’s teeth, but otherwise fully intact.  Five candy bars placed in five beds by one little dog.  Our hearts were warmed, the “damn dog” forgiven.  But two candy bars were still missing.  I think this was still the days of Mike & Cyndee’s waterbed, which was extremely high off the ground, too high by far for Shadow’s poodle legs.  It wasn’t surprising that no candy bars were on their bed, but no wrappers were found as evidence of Shadow treating himself to a little piece of Hanukkah either.  It was days later (maybe even weeks…memory fails) that two candy bars were found in shoes in my parents’ closet.  Shadow knew exactly who those Crunch bars belonged to and did the best he could to get them to my parents safely. 

    He was a funny little dog with attitude, charm & very stinky breath.  And I can’t believe I’m crying right now with this resurrected memory.  He also once gave me a hot dog in my bed…that had to be a big sacrifice for a poodle.  Damn dog. 


    I almost missed Hanukkah!

    I'm not sure what calendar I've been looking at, but I was convinced that Hanukkah didn't start until this upcoming Saturday.   Today I found out that I was wrong & it actually started last Friday.  My family celebrates Hanukkah.  Yes, we’re candy-making, gift-giving, New-Testament-reading Christmas celebrators primarily.  But Hanukkah will always have a special spot in my Decembers.  I thank Cyndee for this.  Because of her we made & burned our own menorah, because of her we knew of the miracle of light granted to a weary but faith-filled people, because of her I learned to drench latkes in sour cream to make them palatable. 

    All mothers have hopes & dreams for their children’s futures.  Most mothers would love for their daughters to marry rich, handsome, successful men.  Cyndee isn’t most mothers.  I don’t think any of those criteria crossed her mind.  Cyndee dreamed that one of us would have the luck to marry a converted Jew.  I desperately hoped to acquiesce at one point, but my brief e-mail relationship with a Jewish man in Texas brought no conversion.  Then (okay, about 10 then’s later) came Jim and although his sideburns sometimes get so long and frizzy that payoth (yes, that’s what they’re called!) don’t seem far away, there’s nothing kosher about the man.  My sisters likewise failed.  Cyndee seems okay with the turn of events, of course, but I know her love for All Things Jewish (a magazine my roomies & I actually subscribed to in college…how on earth did I find people as strange as I was?!) remains.

    I'm like my mother.  I would love to learn more about Judaism.  I knew a woman who learned Hebrew just so she could read the Old Testament in its original language.  That moves me.  I learned Spanish to read Cervantes – that moved me more than considerably, but Hebrew could potentially Move me closer to God…to understanding…to striving & yearning.   If I ever take the Hebrew  challenge on, I think I would read Hosea first.  It’s about that – approaching & distancing ourselves from God.  Brother Wold taught us an amazing lesson on that book in seminary...that was probably 15 years ago but the impact remains even if the details have disappeared.   To remind myself in Hebrew…a good goal. 

    But, I digress…

    Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem more than 2000 years ago.  The temple had been seized by the Greeks in battle, and Judaism had been outlawed.  Judah Maccabee didn’t take kindly to that & refused to be outlawed.  He  fought for freedom for three years, eventually recapturing Jerusalem and the beloved temple.  The temple needed to be rededicated, but only a small bottle of oil (enough to last one day) was found.  The oil miraculously lasted eight days and nights.  A beautiful story in any language. 

    My mom thought so too, so the story & candles became part of our own tradition.  I am grateful for a mom who stretched & yearned and grew us into people who are fascinated by things beyond our immediate realm of space & time.  Now that she's single again, perhaps we'll try to snag her a converted Jewish husband.


    happy engagement!

    Jenna  Tyler.jpg

    Jenna & Tyler at the Dunes... both the Scott's & Whiting's spend at least two weekends a month from October to March at the Dunes outside of Yuma.  It's fun.  Heck, I even managed to get most of my family there after Thanksgiving - amazing for the Hendrix's, who think the only camping worth doing is in mountains amongst pine.  I'm thinking we need to pay tribute to the Dunes with a Groom's cake at the wedding.  Immersed in LDS culture, I honestly don't know what a Groom's cake is...I know many other weddings have them, but I'm not sure how & where & why.  I just want the wedding cake to be divinely elegant, but think a small dune cake would be a fitting tribute to the coming together of these two.  

    So all of you cultured & raised outside of Mesa or Utah individuals, please let me know the low down on the whole Groom's cake thing...