Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Free tickets!

Leue and her friend Marvin
I've been invited to give away a couple of tickets to a puppet show.
I love puppet shows and often take a grandchild or two with me to see one.
The one coming right up is at the SCERA Center for the Arts featuring Coralie Leue and a few of her friends made of fabric and fun.
Leue is a professional puppeteer who tells inventive, original stories with characters she has created.
She'll be at the SCERA on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 11 a.m. with a brand new pair of stories: "Pumpkinella" and "Little Bear's Tail."
In "Pumpkinella" everyone is invited to the Harvest Ball by handsome Prince Broccoli including Stepmother Eggplant and Stepsisters Patty Potato and Mattie Mushroom. The Fairy Pineapple Mother helps Pumpkinella attend as well in a Cinderella tale with a veggie twist.
In "Little Bear's Tail," (based on a Native American story) Clever Fox is tired of hearing Mr. Bear boast about his long and beautiful tail. He devises a plan to get rid of bear's tail but first, he needs some crawdads...
Tickets are $3 for 3-up.
The performance is at the SCERA Center for the Arts at 745 S. State, Orem, and is part of the popular SCERA's Puppet Shop series.
The first person to contact me on this blog or by email gets the free tickets ( They'll be at will call that morning.
If you don't win you can just call the SCERA at 801-225-2569.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

She has to pay for that!

The girl is a sweet shoplifter, Mia is.
She had no idea the free candy she'd just taken from the table at the carnival wasn't free.
She just knew she was happy to find her favorites: a bag of Sour Patch Kids, a bag of Skittles and a roll of strawberry Mentos.
She came into the auditorium and showed me her stash.
"I got this!" she said, "and some for Hannah and some for Adell."
I looked at her, 4 years old and so proud.
I didn't understand what had just happened until a loud voice behind her announced, "She has to pay for that!"
I looked at the lady who was puffing up behind Mia from the carnival outside.
"How much? I asked as it became apparent right away that this woman would not be denied her due.
"$3!" she said with a hand on her hip.
"OK," I started digging in my purse but I hadn't come prepared for cash purchases.
I had two paper dollars and a bunch of coins.
I looked at them briefly and handed everything over.
I know I had three quarters and at least four nickels and a bunch of pennies so I figured that was close enough.
"Here, I think that covers it," I said.
The lady looked skeptical.
"All right. We'll call it good," she huffed and took off.
I looked at Mia who had no idea she'd done anything at all wrong.
After all, we were at a Halloween Carnival where almost everywhere she went she got a free cupcake, a free toy and free candy.
What was the difference?
I thought about giving her the standard lecture that comes with a child taking gum from the store but then I thought, why?
"Enjoy!" I said, "and thanks for thinking of your sisters!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Car wash stress

It happened again.
I told myself this time it would be different. I would be successful. I would remain calm.
I would get my car in and out of the car wash without difficulty.
But once more, I stopped the works, made the horn blare and embarrassed myself.
See, since we bought the Nissan Leaf, I've run into trouble at the car wash.
For some undefined reason, I cannot get the car into neutral in time for the belt to grab the car and pull us forward.
The first time I assumed it was just because everything was new.
I felt much the same when I tried to drive the car off the lot at Ken Garff.
I was ready but the car didn't move when I told it to.
I soon learned that in order for the car to go, I had to put my foot onto the gas pedal (in an electric car there is no gas pedal) and the brake.
In this case, I had to push the start button and put my foot onto the brake, then put it into "D" for drive and slip into motion.
At the car wash, it had to be in neutral but try as I might, I couldn't find the "N" position.
The kid running the place shut everything down and came over to help. People behind me sighed.
He figured it out and the car moved on through.
The next time I thought I had mastered the move but again, I couldn't get the car into "N." Everything stopped and I felt stupid.
This kid said, "You have to push it over to the left."
I told Marc about my problem and he guffawed.
I asked him to go with me and guess what? He couldn't get the car into "N" either. The car wash operation came to a grinding halt.
The kid helped us and we got our car cleaned.
We told some friends and family about our situation and they had all kinds of helpful stories about how they knew people whose cars stopped and others ran into and over them.
Then we drove by the car wash and saw it under repair. The conveyor belt had broken.
So I was nervous this last time but I stopped in a parking lot prior to heading in and practiced.
I thought I had it mastered.
But no, once more I sat there and argued with the gear shift knob, moving it up and down and sideways until the kid asked permission to reach in and over me and put it into "N."
"Thank you!" I breathed as the brushes and water started going again.
"You just have to hold it for a minute," he said.
I dunno. I think I tried that.
I believe I need to get out a hose.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The big decisions in life

Does this look silly?

There's an old saw about who in a marriage makes the important decisions that goes something like this: "My wife makes the big decisions like how to create world peace and what to do when it comes to foreign policy. I make the smaller ones like how to spend the money, where to live..."
In our house, I handle the bills and the taxes and the general upkeep. I plan the meals for the most part.
Marc gets to choose what TV and Internet we have.
Right now, he's changing us over from Dish Network to DirectTV because Dish is raising the price after breaking its promise to save us money.
I have basically kept out of the negotiations because I can't stand it and I don't understand much of it.
All I want is to be able to watch the 10 p.m. news and an episode of "Bold and Beautiful" now and then.
I don't want to have to fuss much or think upon it.
After he chooses what we're doing, I learn the pathway through the remotes and away I go.
I only have trouble when the 2-year-old comes over and plays with the remotes. Then I have some stress until I figure out how to fix whatever he's done.
But generally I just go my way and expect Marc to figure out how it all works.
We tried a while ago to go with an antenna and a kind of Roku box but that was a disaster so I'm not complaining about this switch.
It's just a little ridiculous while we wait for DirectTV to get their act together.
Ennie, Minie, Mo...

They came right out and gave us a new recorder and a new satellite dish.
The set-up guy spent two hours at our house the first night trying to get the system to talk to our TV.
Then he went away and didn't come back.
And they've been pretty slow about returning to get their leftover cable and Dish doesn't seem anxious to get their dish back.
So we currently have two on our roof.
Both of them look huge to me.
Do they look silly to you?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The real circus

We have had a busy week.
We had several things to do that included driving into inner Salt Lake and we narrowly escaped with our lives.
It's a busy place, this city center designed by Brigham Young. I think it worked really well in olden times when there were far fewer cars and more genuine concern for mankind.
Now, there are cars everywhere traveling at a high rate of speed and not very many friendly drivers.
There are split-second decisions to be made, a wide variety of mistakes to make.
It's really very scary.
One night we had to be at the Capitol Theatre by 7 p.m. for a play so we decided to eat somewhere in the city "on our way."
To do that we had to find a place to park and to dine that was located close by.
And since we're coming from Utah County, we had to get onto the freeway and then down the freeway through the eternal construction zone.
Bless our little electric car.
Because we are a zero-emission vehicle, we could slip into the carpool lane and zip on by everybody else — that is, when people would allow us to change lanes and come over. For some reason, drivers in Utah are very territorial.
We made it through unscathed.
Then we had a little trouble at the intersection when the green arrow went off and everybody started coming at us before we were out of the way. (It was their turn, why should they back off just because we were still in the road?)
For the next event, my daughter and I and three grandkids headed out.
My daughter drove and skillfully dodged drivers who were not happy to share the road. She's lived in Salt Lake and is used to the insanity.
But we still had to find parking within a 4-year-old's ability to walk to the arena. We still had to jump out of the way when crazed drivers raced out of the entryways and tried to run us over.
Then coming home, we were stationery for a good part of the time, absolutely not moving for 45 minutes for no good reason we could see.
Honestly, it took forever.
My advice? My plan for the next event?
Stay away or take the Trax.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rules and fools

Marc's picture of foolish folk
The bison and the elk in Yellowstone Park look benign.
The bison are fuzzy. The elk are sleek.

Hey, good-looking.

A fool and his bison. (Not Marc, he's behind our car.)

They basically stand there and give you the eye while you take their picture.
It's easy to begin to believe they won't hurt you if you come up beside them and give one a hug even though you've been given a brochure telling you they're dangerous.
And, after a while, when you've seen a herd or two, they kind of look like friendly foe.
We found that people in Yellowstone Park generally ignored the warnings.
When a big bison stood near the road, people parked close and got out of their cars to get a close-up.
In one instance, a little kid sat on the sidewalk while his dad walked right up to the beast.
We held our breath.
See, I bought the "Death in Yellowstone" book and I've been reading all about the instances where a bison suddenly charged and gored. I've read about elk deciding to show humans who's boss.
People have died because they didn't listen or take care. And currently, there are about 5,000 bison in the park which makes them more dangerous than bears because the bears are mostly out of sight.
I know the warnings are issued for good reason.
The herd at Mammoth Springs hang out at the public park and the ranger stresses because people crowd around.
I see you. Do you see me?
The bison are huge and fast and unpredictable.
Hey mom, there are some people here.
We watched one big guy flip over and take a dirt bath out in the meadow. He was really pretty agile, not a rock like he first appeared to be.
We saw a momma and a baby bison run fairly quickly ahead of the herd.
I don't think people should assume these guys are just going to stand around and do nothing.
I think they have a breaking point.
And I, for one, don't want to find out where that is.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blind spots

It's only taken us a year and a few months, about $500 and a generous visit from Marc's older brother and his wife to get our 26-year-old windows updated.
Still seems like only yesterday that we were happily hanging Wal-Mart vinyl blinds in all of our windows when we moved in here.
At that time, creme-colored slats were the thing.
And we've been pretty happy most of these years.
But the look was tired and when we rode around on our bikes in the evenings, I couldn't help but envy the look of wooden plantation blinds in the houses we passed.
When we were in Bear Lake last summer, we discovered Kerry's wife Lori had opened an interior design shop.
She could do plantation shutters and blinds. She would do ours if we wanted.
I came home and started thinking seriously about it.
The problem was they are in Montpelier, Idaho and we're here so it seemed like a pretty long road trip for them.
I called on a couple of ads I cut out of the paper.
The one guy said, "You'll want to spend the money for real wood blinds, not those composite things." Then he took a cursory look around and threw out a $1500 quote.
The next guy smelled of cigarette smoke from the cigarette he tossed on the sidewalk as he came to the door.
So when Lori said she would order them for us and arrange for installation I was thrilled.
I started giving her measurements and color requests.
We worked until I understood the difference between plantation shutters and plantation blinds. (One is way more expensive and impractical for someone whose windows can't open behind couches and an office desk.)
We kept at it until I was somewhat confident in getting accurate measurements.
We took down the old, melted, dusty blinds.
We placed an order and I started spackling and painting. Marc started making new screens. We ripped out the padded window seat in a bedroom and ordered a vinyl seat.
They Kerry and Lori went on a golf vacation and we started trying to find a working install date.
Yesterday they made it.
We grilled steaks and Kerry patiently hung blinds on three windows.
They look great, professional, smart and clean.
They cut the light, open to the sky if we want and provide both privacy and a touch of class to the three rooms where we've put them. In the back bedroom, they cut the heat dramatically.
Both Lori and Kerry took their work ultra seriously, making sure everything hung straight, was securely fastened and snapped into place. They made sure the babies wouldn't be able to get hold of the cords.
If you want Lori to help you, she has a website: and a store in Garden City at 65 W. Logan Road #7.
I recommend her.