grandmas

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."
OK.
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.
Um.
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."
OK.
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."

Friday, June 3, 2016

On your left...

I got one of "those" phone calls a few weeks back.
It was my husband.
"Just so you don't worry, I'm calling to tell you there's been an accident. I'm OK. John's OK. But I'll probably be here a while," he said. (Love these, "just so you don't worry" openers.)
Here would be on the side of the road, being checked over by the paramedics at the scene of the crash.
Marc and his friend were headed to lunch and waiting to finish turning left at an intersection in Salt Lake where there's a lot of construction and heavy traffic.
Before they could get out of the way, a car coming through apparently jumped the light and smashed smack into them broadside, right where Marc was riding.
It was a traumatic event.
Fortunately, only the cars and their mental health were badly hurt.
Marc sustained some spectacular bruising but weathered it fairly well, all things considered.
His friend, who was driving, is upset. He can't sleep, can't relax and won't drive.
I find myself thinking, "Wow! Marc could have been killed or at the least, seriously injured." He was more than lucky.
The car stood up well for itself.
The other car was totaled and, of course, the other guy has no insurance and no money.
And because John was making a left turn, he was cited.
He's indignant and fighting the ticket.
Marc has run over and over it in his mind, replaying the sequence of events, especially since he got a subpoena to testify in court about it.
There were orange barrels everywhere.
Two lanes were having to merge into one.
The cars ahead of them were slow and blocking progress.
The man who charged into them was probably texting when the light changed and simply took off at a high rate of speed but he's claiming he had the green light and therefore the right of way. (Never mind that John's car was clearly in his path.)
The whole situation is now in the courts while officials try to lay appropriate blame and assign costs. They also have to figure out if the accident was in Sandy or Draper since the road is partly in both cities.
It's dragging on and I don't know how it will turn out.
The only things I DO know is: I'm glad Marc and John are physically all right and I'm being a lot more cautious at left turn situations!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Uh, there's a window well...


So the tree guy I had called to come trim our shrubbery was hard at work.
The saw was buzzing and the branches were flying.
It was already looking better outside my office window.
The bushes had been growing out of control since their haircut from a couple of years earlier.
The interior ones had shot up and the whole area was pretty wild looking.
I had called the trimmers back.
"Just do what you did the last time and make it all look better," I suggested before I retreated indoors.
"Watch out for quail nests, though."
They were busy for a while.
I heard a couple of shouts when they surprised some wasps in a nest deep inside and noticed the one guy standing deep inside the greenery. But I didn't think a lot about it.
When I came out with my checkbook to survey the results, he started explaining why he was in the middle of the bushes.
"I wanted to try and lift the branches so they would fill in the hole there," he said, pointing to where he'd been.
"There's one over there too," he said, gesturing to the other side.
I looked at where he was looking.
Yes, there is kind of a hole in the center on both sides, right where the window wells are.
"Uh, there are window wells there," I said. "Maybe I should have mentioned that."
The guy looked at me.
"Really? That would have been a surprise," he said somewhat dourly. "That would explain a lot."
I wonder if you can be sued for damage to a hedge-trimmer who isn't informed about a window well?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Busting his chops

Say cheese!
We busted a few myths when we were in Washington D.C.
Like, the Cherry Blossom Festival lasts for the first two weeks in April. (By the time we were there on April 8, there was one tree with blossoms still hanging on to it.)
And the weather's pretty nice. (It was super rainy the whole time.)
But most importantly, we discovered that Washington's teeth were not wooden.
In fact, he had teeth made of a number of things, none of them wood.
He had some human teeth replacements, some of ivory, some donkey, some horse and some hippopotamus teeth, held together by gold springs.
He had one set made of teeth from some of his Mt. Vernon slaves. (Yes, Washington owned slaves, mostly inherited from his wife but he did own slaves even while he was lobbying against the practice of slavery.)
He spent a good deal of his time hunting for good dentures and was pretty miserable most of his days.
That's why he doesn't smile in any of his photographs and/or paintings.
If you notice, he isn't smiling on the one dollar bill.
He holds his mouth in a tight line.
The poor man was in a fair amount of pain. He lost his first adult tooth when he was 22 and had just one of his original teeth left by the time he became the nation's first president.
In one of the Smithsonian museums, there's a whole exhibit dedicated just to Washington's dental troubles.
I think it's admirable that he was able to conduct himself with dignity every day. Nothing wears you down like mouth pain.
I have increased admiration for the man.
I had no idea and by the way, we never found the cherry tree he chopped down, either.