Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Sights You've Never Seen Before!

While going out and about this Christmas season, I encountered some unusual sights. 
For example, while walking through the St. George Lin's store, I saw a family dressed in onesie pajamas belly up to the ice cream bar. When I asked them about their warm and woolly get-up, they explained their Christmas Eve tradition of going out for ice cream. This year, though, the children challenged them to all go out in their NEW CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS!
What did Mom and Dad say?
Why, YES, of course!
(Wouldn't it be fun to be part of the "Onesie" family?)

I only caught a glimpse of this truck decked out in more lights than the Rockefeller Center tree. (I snapped a quick shot through the window, hence, the reflections.) I think this is a marvelous idea, as long as you obey traffic rules.

(On police radio.) Set up a roadblock for a speeding truck covered in multi-colored lights.
Sounds like a sure-fire traffic stop to me.

Have you ever seen SINGING CHRISTMAS TREES? Besides making me laugh out loud for at least five minutes, they even change mouth shapes.

See? From curvy to rectangular... circles! 

After all, you can't make all the vowels by holding your lips in one shape! (Try it... I dare you!)

The sweet thing about seeing a projection of Mrs. Claus through Santa's workshop window is that my little sister who has Down syndrome exclaimed, "She's waving at me to come in! She wants me to visit her!" 

As we drove on by, I told my sister that was so nice of Mrs. Santa, but we'd have to come back later because we had more houses to see, and there were cars waiting behind us.
(I didn't say how much later we'd come back, did I?
Besides, how would Carolyn feel if she discovered that the jolly Mrs. Claus was just a projection? Gotta preserve the magic, people.

And for a little Christmas un-magic, I present the small-hearted Grinch, in all his hulking shadowy nefariousness.

I'm convinced that our son's cat took some Grinch lessons, as she stole a gift from beneath our tree and clawed it open on one side. 

Guess whose name was on the gift?
Why, mine, of course.

I leave you with this image of a simple, beautiful white tree on a hillside. 
Christmas is simple, after all. 
It's all about love.

I wish for you peace, happiness, and no stolen presents.

Magical Christmas Gift Closet for Big Feet

When I went to a Skechers shoe store in Las Vegas, I didn't see any women's size 11 shoes on the shelves. When I asked, the sales girl smiled and me and said, "Oh, they're in Narnia."
Then she opened a magical mirrored door and revealed the magical stacks of  size 11's. It was a Christmas miracle.
 One thing I've noticed is that not very many stores have cute styles in size 11 women's shoes. Apparently, shoe manufacturers doubt that giant women like cute shoes.
Well, guess what? Cute size 11 shoes are my Christmas wish. (After world peace and love for all mankind.)
What's yours?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Enthusiasm for Christmas Is Fun!

Happy birthday to my brother, DellRay, today! He is approximately 17 months and 22 days older than me. We had great times growing up, which included all 8 of us children. Carolyn is the youngest. Since she recently moved in with Bob and me, I've been reminded that having her live with us makes Christmas even more fun!
She helped my son, Jeff, put lights up outside his house.

She got to sit on Santa's lap.

She put Christmas lights in her room. (A gift from our sister, Bev.)

She was surprised with a timely gift from our sister, Loraine.

She's teaching me that it's more fun to have enthusiasm in life for every experience, and if you can't be enthusiastic, at least reach for optimism.
My other sister, Rebecca, told me how she'd simplified her Christmas gift giving, and was all done by Thanksgiving this year, leaving her free to experience the joyous spirit of Christmas instead of the stress of trying to get everything done.
How are your Christmas preparations? 
Are you an early finisher?
Or do you like to wait until the last minute?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Stop for Gas and Find a Friend

When I stopped for gas in Richfield, Bob got out to pump the stuff into the car and I stayed snug and warm inside, at least until I looked out the window and saw a high school friend at the gas pump right next to ours! 
It was Brett Allred, in living, breathing color.
After more than 40 years, I finally apologized for tipping his motorcycle over.
Do you know what he said?
"I don't remember that."
Now that's a really good friend.
Do you have a friend you haven't seen in a long time?
Who is it?
What's your favorite memory?

Monday, November 27, 2017

I noticed this rock outside the Dixie Convention Center while walking with my sister, but there was something out of the ordinary. An odd lump at the top of the rock caught my attention, so I bent down for a closer look.
I couldn't help but smile at what I saw.

(Did you smile, too?)
Do you look down when you walk? Do you look up? How about overhead? 
Where have you found the nicest surprises?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Food with a Face

While walking past the meat counter in the grocery store, I discovered "food STILL with a face" looking out at me.
I am not a vegetarian, but this just might turn me into one.
So I wonder, is it just me? Do you find this appealing? (Look at those eyes!) Would you want to take a pound of porky, swaddled in meat wrapping paper, home with you?
(Maybe they'd throw the hat in free, you know, for fiber.)

Monday, November 6, 2017

When Jelly Beans Go Rotten...

 To celebrate Brian's birthday, here is a chronicle of his brave event.
It went down like this: he bought a bunch of "dare you to eat it" jelly beans, with "good" and "bad" counter part flavors that looked the SAME!
After tentative bites off the ends of various colors, Brian (left), his brother Jeff, and I deemed the rotten milk, masquerading as delectable coconut cream, as the worst flavor.
The challenge? Three white jelly beans were laid on a napkin. The three of us each picked one up with the directive to eat the whole thing, no matter what. No spitting out. No matter what.
One, two, three, GO!

The two brothers got rotten milk jelly beans! They appeared to permeate their whole heart and soul, lingering long afterward. It was painful to watch. That's why I hid behind my camera, taking photo after photo through my tears. (It sounded like I was laughing, but honestly, crying sounds like laughter sometimes, doesn't it?) 

Guess who got the coconut cream?
C'est moi.
(T'was me.)
See? My boys are nice to me naturally. They don't even have to try.
But I already paid my dues. My trial by rotten milk occurred the summer after I turned 13. Running into the house, I grabbed a milk carton on the counter next to where my father stood, and poured a glass. So thirsty was I, that I chugged three huge gulps before tasting the sourness of the milk.
Pulling the glass away from my mouth, I made disgusted sounds while my father cried along in sympathy, his concern sounding oddly like laughter.
"Did you know the milk was rotten?" I demanded.
Feeling poisoned, I asked, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"It won't hurt you," he explained. "In fact, it was already partly digested so now your stomach doesn't have to work as hard."
That knowledge didn't make the milk taste any better.
Has reading this reminded you of a flavor you hate?
(I'm tossing in my bid for liver-hating.)
Is there anything you've learned to like to eat over the years? (I decided I liked onions when I turned 40, and avocados finally won me over when I was 50.)
So what are your worst/favorites?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Make You Wanna Jump?

These Big Boy leaves were gathered off Snow College campus, and prompted in me an initial desire to jump into the pile and throw them around.
But then I remembered my leaf-jumping days of yore, and how the crunchy fun was soon superseded by scratchy, dry leaf pieces sifting down the back of my shirt, making my skin itch horribly.
I would rather walk in leaves in high boots.
What about you? Are you still a leaf jumper? (Were you ever?)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Birthday Hair Bow

On the day I wore "the bow," a man asked me, "What's the occasion?"
Since I didn't of what "occasion" he was referring to, I gave him a blank look.
He gestured toward my head. "The bow. What's the occasion?"
I was truly surprised, because I hadn't thought my bow was noteworthy. I'd just worn it because I liked it and thought it went with my dress. 
(Doesn't it?)
 But judging by this man's question, my bow was NOT appropriate for general society. It was only appropriate in Shirley's World.
So searched my mind for a "normal" answer, unsure what that might be.
Finally, I pulled out of my brain, "It's my grandson's birthday." (Because it was.) Offering no explanation for why I would be wearing a gift bow on my grandson's birthday (shouldn't he be wearing it?) I left.

I didn't think the bow I put in my hair was weird at all, not until someone else commented on it as if it was out of the ordinary.
Tomorrow is my son, Scott's birthday. If I wore this bow to visit him, he wouldn't think it was weird at all.
(Come to think of it, I don't think any of my boys would think it was weird, at least not on my head.)
Do you wear what you want?
Or do you seek expert advice?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Patriotic Car For Sale

I thought this car I saw for sale in a parking lot employed an interesting sales tactic.
Do patriotic cars sell faster?
I wonder if this car is named after Paul Revere's horse.
(Do you name your cars?)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Bev at the Top of the World

It's my sister, Brave Bev's, birthday today! A few years ago, she was daring enough to climb up on top of this pyramid of family, including dad, brothers, brothers-in-law, and cousins.

Would she do it again today?
Why, yes, yes, she would.
Have you ever been in a pyramid of people? If so, did you manage to get down in an orderly fashion?
Or was it a free-for-fall? 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sparkler Kids

As I drove by an urban structure, I saw these blue and purple kids herding a field of sparkling pinwheels.
The building looked like a house from the side, but I imagine it was something else, like a daycare center, even though I didn't see any signs. It could be someone's house.
Whatever it is, it looks like a fun place to be.
Even without going inside, the outside display inspires wonder and sparks creativity.
Did you ever play with a pinwheel?
If so, were you a purist who blew on the blades to make them spin? (Along with your spinning vision as you flirted with passing out.)
 Or were you the stick-it-in-front-of-the-blowing-fan, turbo blade kind of kid?

Monday, September 18, 2017

A New Place to Put a Car Key

How in the world did a wind-up car go 75 mph on the freeway?
Having a key sticking out of your car wasn't so unusual when the first crank start variety of vehicle was rolling down the streets, but it's a novel place to store a car key these days.
I'd hate to have to wind it, but it might be easier than finding a place to plug in an electric car. And what if you ran out of gas on a remote roadside? It would be handy to wind your car up and just keep going.
When I was little, my dad brought home a red VW Bug car and proceeded to fit his family of 10 inside it like puzzle pieces. Then he drove us seven blocks to church.
I was generally one of the riders in the space behind the back seat with my face squished against the window. I wasn't alone, sharing the squishy spot with Bev and occasionally Greg, too.
Meanwhile, Melinda, Rebecca, and DellRay sat side by side in the back seat with Loraine and sometimes Greg as "floaters." (No seat belt laws.)
With Mom holding Carolyn in the front passenger seat and Dad behind the wheel, we had a place for everyone and everyone was in their place.
Do you like to be driven places?
Or do you prefer to be at the controls?

Monday, September 11, 2017

In Defense of Women

I don't know what it is about this book cover that I like, but there is an abnormally tall lady. I like her hat, too. I also like the title, although the contents are more satire than serious.
I read a bit of biography on the author, H. L. Mencken, who apparently had such a low opinion of marriage that his cohorts teased him mercilessly when he married Sarah Haardt at 50 years old, after a 7 year courtship. (Old habits and all that.) He said he'd married because he was inspired and informed by the Holy Spirit, and it seemed to be a superb communique.
In spite of her being 17 years younger than he was, Sarah died five years later of meningitis.
The sad irony of it! He lived for 18 more years before dying.
That's not so sad, because I think he met Sarah again.
I wonder if she was taller than him.
  I like the lady's elbow on the guy's head on this cover, too. I can relate.
What do you think of this book cover?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Quick Caterpillar

The picture does not do "Speedy" justice. He just looks like a pipe cleaner lying on the dirt. But use your imagination to animate the pipe cleaner into a wriggling speed demon, crossing the road with a speed matched by no chicken in history.
Most likely, if Speedy were racing a chicken, the chicken would let Speedy hitch a ride... in her gullet!
Did you guess that this photo was not taken recently? Do you remember from your childhood school days the time of year that caterpillars tend to crawl across roads in a race against:
1. Starvation before reaching the other side to climb whatever plant looks greener than the ones on the original side of the road.
2. Being flattened by a vehicle, whether it be 4, 3, or 2 wheeled variety... or even the 1 wheeled unicycle my son rides.
3. Being eaten by a curious dog, frog, or passing chicken, who also feels a compulsion to cross the road.
Yes, you guessed it. Springtime.
Do you step on caterpillars?

Monday, August 28, 2017

When I Wanted to be Taller

When I wanted to be taller, my baby nephew, Glenn Anderson Roth, beat me anyway.
This picture was taken the summer after Bob and I were married on June 1, 1978.

I thought I was overly tall at just half an inch away from 6 feet, but the guy I fell in love with happened to be 6' 7". I suppose that made being 6 feet tall easier, but why did I want to go taller?
(How did we do that, anyway? And how did itty bitty Glenn get on MY shoulders? LOOK HOW HAPPY HE IS!)
The details are lost, but the evidence is there, in an era before digital photography doctorization.
As the oldest of six, Glenn got a chance to reverse positions, just as happily, it seems, on the bottom tier of this family pyramid.  (Bottom row, L-R: Greg, Glenn, Grant. Middle row: Gretta and Genna. Top row, er, child: Gable. Mother Melinda is acting as spotter behind her well balanced children.)

Have you ever been in a pyramid?
(Okay, I heard that, cousin Suzanne, Egypt-traveler!)
I mean, have you ever been part of a HUMAN pyramid? If so, did you get the top, bottom, or middle position?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

What's Your First Thought?

When I passed this road sign, I was so full of ideas about the origin of the broken side that I had to turn around and go back to take a picture.
What's the first thing you thought of when you saw this sign? That it had fallen over in a high wind and broken? That it was caught up a in a tornado and whirled through the air to crash into a bridge and narrowly miss a school bus full of children? That it had been run into by a car, truck, taxi, driven by a new driver, oldster, or Siamese twins fighting over the steering wheel? That it was struck by lightning? Hit by a meteor? Bitten by a monster? Used as a weapon between road worker guys expressing their Road Rage? 
It's a very entertaining sign.
What did you think of?

Monday, August 7, 2017

8 Cow Wife

I saw this license plate that reminds me of my sister, Loraine. It's posted today because her birthday is tomorrow (laaaa!) and her husband, Kory, treats her like an eight cow wife.
In case you aren't familiar with the story, it's about a rich, handsome Polynesian guy named Johnny Lingo who wants to marry the village "ugly" girl, Mahana. The thing is, he had to pay cows for her. Wives in the village bragged about how many cows their husbands paid for them for a bride price, with 5 cows being paid for the Mayor's wife.
Mahana's father thinks he'll be lucky to get a 3-legged cow from Johnny Lingo, shrewd trader that he was, as he had decided to bargain for a girl no one else wanted just so that he could pay almost nothing for her.
But when Johnny offers eight cows for Mahana, her father can hardly believe it. He accepts the offer, reveling in his new wealth while the newly married Johnny and Mahana go off in a canoe.
When Mahana shows up a few months later, her father claims he was cheated at 8 cows, because she is so beautiful and poised, she is worth 10 cows.
He'd loved her since they were children, because she was kind and compassionate. So after he left the island and made his fortune, he came back for his childhood sweetheart.
Just like Kory and Loraine (except they were college sweethearts.)
Where did you meet your sweetheart?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Eating in the Car on a Sunny Summer Day

Sometimes I eat in the car.
No matter where I eat, I usually spill. (I don't TRY to... I just do!) I even keep a towel in my car to tuck into the neck of my shirt and let the rest drape down over my lap.
But it didn't cover my seat belt.

I made a doozy of a spill when I dropped a piece of food in the padded sleeve I keep on my seatbelt to prevent it from digging into my flesh and hurting me.
It's so funny to me that Bob and my boys don't care for the pad.  Bob even takes it off if he drives my car. What is their skin made of? Rhino hide?
Do you eat in your car?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

You Can Never Have Too Much Romance!

Indulge in some summer love. Click on the book covers or descriptions from these popular authors!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Can you even SEE the doggies?!

Oh, my - my computer issues! I KNOW I can learn how to do electronic things that need doing, such as cropping this photo so the subjects show up better, but I have to balance the amount of life I have left against how long it would take me to learn, as well as consider all the other things I'd dearly love to do with the remaining mortal time left to me. 
It's a matter of priorities, so get out your Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass to see the majestic white dog on the back of the truck (right), tooling down Main Street, looking doggy cool. Once it passed a car (left), an unexpected doggy head popped out the window as if to say, "Wha's up?" to numero coolo canine.
At least, that's what it looks like to me.
Do you think dogs communicate with one another?
Do you think they communicate with humans?
Do you think they celebrate EVERY DAY?
Today is not only Pioneer Day in Utah, but it's also my granddaughter, Anneke's BIRTHDAY!
(Have some cake for me, dear, since I don't eat that kind anymore.) 
I am grateful for the freedom I have to stick my head out the car window if I want to.
(But I'm not allowed to ride in the back of a truck down Main Street anymore... that only worked during my hay-hauling days on the farm!)
Did you ever ride in the back of a truck?
Did you like it?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

TWO NEW Rocky Mountain Romance titles!

Wow! Get lost in love with these two new Rocky Mountain Romance titles!
Click on covers to get yours.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Man's House is His...

There I was, driving down the road during a visit to Logan, Utah, minding my own business, when what to my wondering eyes should appear?

After assuring myself that I hadn't been transported back in time or across the ocean (more's the pity) I got out of my carriage, er, car, and took a picture.
Because that's what I do.
I would have liked to have a tour of the house, but I imagined how I would feel if someone came knocking at my door and asked to see my bathroom.
Yet, someone actually did that when I had a "house for sale" sign up in my yard. For the first breathless second, they pretended like they wanted to see the house.
Then, in the second sentence, they admitted that they couldn't hold it anymore, and asked, "Which way is the bathroom?!"
I pointed.
I'd already cleaned the floor and didn't want to have to do it again.
Have you ever sold a house?
How much fun was THAT?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rocky Mountain Romance Series Launches Today!

If you enjoy captivating, heartwarming stories by talented authors, then transport yourself today with the first book in the Rocky Mountain Romance series
right here on AMAZON!
Then you can enjoy all the other books to follow for a huge dose of July love!
(And you can eat sweet ice cream or juicy melon while reading... just keep the drips off the Kindle.)
Here's the FACEBOOK PAGE for more info!
Happily falling in love again.

Michael State Champ.... Again

Hey, it's my son Michael's birthday! (He's the blond guy closest to the camera on the front corner of the pictured fire engine, where Manti High School State Champs ride after a win, be it any sport or THEATER! Manti High School won state in Theater on Michael's senior year, after winning it his Junior and Sophomore years, too.)
Now I can stop telling him what to do.
Do you remember turning 18?
What did you do to celebrate?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Marlene Bateman Sullivan Writes Again!

What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, mysteriously disappeared a few weeks before.  Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion to begin working, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

After Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance, a series of frightening incidents ensnare her in a maze of intrigue. Anna is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart.

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets in a troubled household, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. When her life is threatened, Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—

EXCERPT FROM "Searching for Irene"

The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia.

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train.
The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe.
Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.
Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.
“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.
“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?”
A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”
His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door.
Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.


Marlene’s website:

Stressed by a difficult year, McKenzie Forsberg quits her high-powered job to move back to her hometown. Desperate and determined to rebuild her life, Kenzie seeks to buy the home she grew up in. The only problem is that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, also wants the house. As a battle of wits ensue, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past that changes everything. Will the power of love be enough to allow Jared and Kenzie to find their happily ever after?

Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.

Marlene’s website: