Monday, July 25, 2016

Pokeman stop and go...

Marc and I aren't really into Pokeman Go!
We're just doing research.
We feel we owe it to our grandkids and to the public to know what's hip.
It's important as news people to keep up.
So when Marc came home dancing because he'd been playing Pokeman at work, I made fun of him at first and then persuaded him to take me with him to find some virtual creatures.
(Our daughter and son-in-law had come to dinner and showed us that we have a Pokeman stop right by our house. The wagon wheel post box owned by the guy next door gives you Pokeman balls just for checking in.)
(Then our grandson came over to tell us the playground nearby looked very profitable. He and Marc went searching.)
This is obviously something worth investigating. So we headed out to see what this is all about.
I had briefly signed up for the app and then deleted it because it was sucking the power from my phone and I didn't want to have to worry about it.
Besides, I can go along for free on Marc's phone.
We headed out.
Turns out the American Fork Library grounds are littered with Pokeman creatures and people walking around like zombies trying to catch them.
On the way to and from, the phone was making the crashing sound that tells us we're near something.
It's very addictive.
I love surprises and treasure even if they're odd-looking, fantastical creatures with no real purpose in life.
This is fun!
Now we've introduced Pokeman Go! to two other grandkids.
Marc took them down and showed them the sights and raised his Pokeman Go! level by two levels.
They had a great time and came back all enthused.
They were fascinated by the sport and by all the people walking around with their phones out and their heads down.
They made new friends.
They scored a lot of captures.
Now their parents will probably have to get the app and share their iPhones with them.
We apologize.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Shooting from the hip

I thought it a little odd that there were guys in the parade pretending to have a shoot-out, especially since we are all reeling from the killings of police officers in Dallas.
I was sitting in my camp chair watching from the shade, expecting to see a typical, Americana-style,  Steel Days Parade with the bands and floats and such.
For 26 years, Marc and I have come to the parade.
In the beginning, we were packing our cameras and notebooks. We were looking for cute little kids in wagons and pretty girls waving from city floats.
We were high-fiving city council and county commissioner and governor candidates.
We had years surrounded by children and grandchildren scrambling for the candy tossed our way.
We waved to Mayors Savage, Beck, Durfey and now Hadfield.
We applauded wildly for the American Fork Marching Band.
It's been a tradition the last few years to ride down on our bikes to the band breakfast and hang around for the parade.
This year, I was on my own as Marc had a dress rehearsal for his current stage play.
I was comfortable in my chair and happy, expecting the usual.
So I was surprised when these guys came along with golf carts decorated with flags, one of them a Confederate one.
They piled out, pulled out pistols and aimed at each other.
The guys in back fired.
The guy in front fired back (fortunately with blanks).
It had all the earmarks of an old-fashioned street gunfight, an in-your-face gunfight.
The parade watchers — me included — were all dumbstruck.
It didn't seem to fit in, this scene.
I thought at the very least it was way insensitive, given recent events and raw emotions. At the most, it was profane.
It wasn't until afterward that I realized it was probably unauthorized as well.
American Fork City has since issued an apology and insist the entry was NOT blessed by the parade committee.
How it got in there is a mystery.
Why it got in there is another.
The only thing I know for sure is it didn't belong.
Here's the video:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Keeping up with Cael

It seemed like a harmless venture.
Cael — who is 2 and 1/2 — wanted to check out the slide on the other side of the new Ivory Park.
He could see it from the splash pad and headed in that direction while his sisters and I were playing in the fountains.
He went south so I did too.
(First of all, Mia, his 5-year-old sister, tried to go with him and hold his hand but he was having none of her direction. He fussed at her and so I went along to keep the peace.)
It was kind of a trek but it looked like a fun playset with a slide and climbing features.
I had kicked off my flip-flops so I could enjoy the cool grass with my toes but I hadn't realized the wood chips covering the ground around the playtoy were not feet-friendly.
They hurt to walk on and I quickly retreated to the pavilion cement pad.
Cael started climbing with Mia.
She found a kind of plastic seat thing that Cael wanted to be on as well.
He couldn't reach it so I tried to come over to help.
"Ow, ow!!"
I retreated again. Mind over painful matter didn't work.
So Cael began to climb up a ladder made of metal rungs and rubber hoses.
He was successful although it was pretty challenging for him.
I looked at him standing with Mia about 10 feet off the ground.
Oh dear.
There was no simple way back down, no slippery slide or climbing wall or steps.
I was going to have to go get him.
Because I love him and didn't want him to die, I walked back over, wincing at each step. The chips bit into my tender feet with no mercy. However, I didn't feel I had a choice.
I made it to the tower they were on but I couldn't reach Cael.
He was too high up and he wanted down.
I tried standing on one of the metal rungs but I couldn't get a good hold of him with one hand. He waited, assuming grandma would save him.
I didn't know what to do. I couldn't go for help. No one else was around. I didn't see that this was going to end well.
He thought I was getting him so he started down. The best plan I had was to try and catch him as he fell.
It was really scary.
He stretched his little legs and feet out and then grabbed hold. Mia was cheerleading. I was sweating and praying.
He worked and wiggled and made it perilously from rung to rung and to the other side without falling through.
He was all proud of himself and fine in the end.
I'm rung out.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

MoTown a ride into the musical past

I was never a big fan of Diana Ross.
I thought she was such a great fan of herself that she didn't need anybody else.
However, she was certainly fun to watch in the Broadway Across America show "Motown The Musical" at the Capitol Theatre Tuesday.
The Supremes were just one of the groups featured in the show celebrating Motown's 25th Year and the story of the Motown creator, Berry Gordy.
Gordy built Motown from absolutely nothing and launched careers of not only the Supremes but Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and his brothers, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and singing, swinging stars who provided the musical backdrop for a lot of my high school and college days.
It was an invigorating visit to the past.
The costuming and the set were spectacular and creatively done.
The dancers and actors had the moves down. The young Michael Jackson was totally fun.
The vocals were spot-on.
And there were more than 50 songs included. (My instant orchestra friends, Kenny Hodges and Louis Campbell were part of the pit orchestra!)
It was a rockin' good time.
I even enjoyed Ross and her hair flipping attitude.
She conveyed the fact that although she got kind of carried away with herself, she was talented.
So now, I'm going around humming "Baby Love," "I Hear a Symphony," along with
"My Girl" and "Please, Mr. Postman" and considering going again before it leaves Salt Lake.
It's here until July 1.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Here's a Note...

An imposter in the garage
I hadn't planned on bringing a different car home from the dealership on Friday.
I was only taking my Leaf in for a tire rotation and simple checkup. I figured I'd be in at noon and home by 2 p.m.
I was all the way down to Honeybaked Ham for lunch when I got a phone call: "Hi, Mrs. Haddock, I see we have you down for a couple of minor things but your Leaf has a couple of recall fixes on it. I can't get those finished in an hour so what we'd like to do is keep your car overnight and possibly through tomorrow. We can lend you a car so you have wheels."
What's this portal for?
I could do that. I didn't want to have to come back to take care of the recall issues and it'd be fun to have a new car over the weekend, right?
So now we have a Versa Note in our garage...after I figured out how to get into the house without access to my remote garage door opener and suffered all the way home without my CDs.
I just hadn't properly planned to switch vehicles and ended up leaving my husband's iPad on the front seat, the opener, a couple of loaves of freshly baked bread and the movie blankets I use on Tuesdays in the hatch.
We drove back for several things and now we're driving around this tiny little car that is actually very retro and cheaply put together (no offense intended to any of you who own a Note).
It has handles you wind around to open the windows. It took me a while to figure out how to do that.
It doesn't lock more than one door at a time and even after you've locked all the doors, the hatch door still opens if you don't make a special effort there.
It has a tin can kind of feel and a radio that's fuzzy.
1950's version of a power window
It also requires gas which is not a big problem except I have stopped carrying my gas card with me since we bought the all-electric Leaf.
It isn't as roomy either or as quiet.
And when you push the pedal to go, it takes a few seconds to get into motion. There's an urge to get out and push that comes with it.
I think the dealership was nice to provide me with a vehicle and brave to take a chance on a grandma driver.
But I'm going to be at their doorstep first chance I get to reclaim my car.
 I want my lovely, modern, quiet, sleek and peppy, sky blue, Leaf back.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Only God can trim a tree

We've been fretting over our big tree for some time now.
A couple of years ago the fellow we hired to trim and shape our cherry tree told us he thought we ought to cable our 20-year-old cottonwood out back.
It's grown quite large and has a split trunk with three large branches growing out of that trunk.
We love this tree as it provides shade for the entire backyard and its leaves rustle in the afternoon breeze quite pleasantly.
We weren't sure we wanted to cut any of it out but we told the tree guy we'd consider it.
He went off to check on prices.
When we didn't hear from him for the rest of the summer, we were actually a bit relieved.
This summer, however, a couple of smaller branches broke off during a particularly wild windstorm.
I dug out the tree guy's number and called him up.
I had him come pay some attention to our shrubs and asked him again about the tree.
He said he would see what a sling would cost and call me.
"You'd hate to have one of those branches fall on your roof," he said.
That's been several weeks ago so I called him up again.
"The best price I found is from a place in Canada," he said. "But I'm a little tight on my finances right now so you'll need to call them and order it. Then I'll come cut off the branch and install the sling."
The sling would be about $300 and the branch removal plus placing the sling would run between $700-$800.
I know nothing about tree slings.
What size? What color? What do I ask for?
The tree guy told me to get a 4-ton sling with a 50-meter cord.
I gulped.
But I did make the call and was doing fine until the girl on the other end of the phone realized I was calling from the United States.
"We only ship within Canada," she told me. "You'll have to pay the freight costs. You might want to consider a company that's more local to your area."
Um again.
I rang off and told my husband the situation.
He was not impressed.
"We don't know what to get and we shouldn't have to get it ourselves," he said. "Let's think about this some more."
I called our neighborhood landscape man who said he would come take a look.
He came by yesterday.
"I don't think it needs cabling," he said. "It's a healthy tree. It looks fine."
Since I'd rather not spend $700-$1,000 to have a branch cut off and perhaps damage an otherwise well-behaved tree, I think we'll go with the second opinion.
Let me know if the wind starts blowing.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

'Newsies' is flipping fine

My granddaughter noticed a few things about the "Newsies" musical that came to the Capitol Theatre Tuesday night.
The energy was high.
The story was interesting.
And everybody could do back flips at will.
Adell had agreed — quite willingly — to come with me on media night to the show.
She's never been to a professional stage production before and, since she's into acting herself, she was a natural choice after my husband decided his knee was probably not up to the sitting and staying in tight quarters.
She and I took off early, intending to park the electric car and hop on the Trax so we could be there by 7:15 p.m. as requested.
It turned out that we missed the exit to get onto the Trax at 11400 so we tried finding the station at 90th.
There was a backhoe and a trench in our way so we came around and ended up back on the freeway.
Then we had to find parking and make our way through the crowd piled up on the sidewalk.
By the time we arrived, it was 7:16 and Adell was concerned.
She wanted to go more than she'd let on.
It was a relief to her that the people in charge had not given our seats away.
We took our seats with nobody in the two seats in front of her.
So we watched the story of these street kids trying to survive by selling newspapers.
When the price per hundred papers went up to 60 cents, they had to take a stand which meant going on strike and asking for trouble. Eventually the Newsies make things better for everyone.
The music is fun. The message is a good one.
The sets move up and down and all around.
Everyone in the cast, except maybe the reporter/Pulitzer daughter and her greedy father, seems agile and good at spectacular dance moves.
After the curtain call, Adell told me what she thought.
"Everyone knew how to make big moves and how to keep the energy up," said my 10-year-old critic.
"I learned about it in my acting class.
"If I was doing a review, I would say it was really good."