Monday, December 5, 2016

Men are from Mars, Woman want to talk

The invitation was welcome.
Marc and I have read "Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus" by Dr. John Gray and believe pretty much in his philosophy: men and women are wired differently.
Thus we don't always connect properly or at all.
Men tend to want to fix whatever problem arises and be done with it.
We women want to talk about it, analyze it and figure out how to resolve it, usually through deep conversation.
When this happens in our life, my husband tends to think I simply want to fight.
I think he wants to avoid.
The Men are from Mars thinking is that women are a LOT more emotional in their reactions because there are more emotional parts to their brains.
Venutians can't rest until they dissect the situation and understand it.
Martians just want to rest. They really, REALLY don't like conflict.
When we were invited to the show at the Jeanne Wagner Theatre in Salt Lake Saturday night, we leapt to go.
We made a dinner reservation and checked the TRAX schedule and off we went despite the cold and the fact that we have something to do almost every night and day in December.
Stand-up comic Josh Hyman essentially does an energetic, somewhat outrageous monologue using the material in Dr. Gray's books. He walks the audience through his relationship with his wife and brings the audience along for the ride.
He's funny and real and, in some instances, pretty R-rated as he talks about relating to the ones we love.
He doesn't mince any words and when he talks about the husband "tending her garden" when it comes to his wife, it's kind of hard not to blush.
He's got it right.
And it's refreshing to hear topics generally kept fairly hush-hush in public settings discussed with candor.
I'm not sure everyone would appreciate this offering.
But if it's approached with a sense of humor, it's great.
I liked what he said about how women keep points, giving men one point for anything large and small that they do and say.  (They give themselves a point for every step in what they are doing so we women are almost always ahead in points.)
He talked about how valuable men are to women and vice versa.
In the end he said all men really want is Trust and Acceptance while women want Affection and Understanding, pure gold (AU).
He said he was heading home to mend a rift with his wife before it reached unfixable levels.
We laughed.
We learned.
On the way home, Marc was reflective and unusually quiet.
I wanted to talk about it.
I wanted to know what he was thinking, why he wasn't saying anything.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Witch tree?

The guy driving the little train through Kew Gardens in London didn't know which tree is the tree used in the Harry Potter movies as the whomping willow.
He just knows it was one of the massive trees in the area.
Too many branches
I supposed the Kew Gardens people felt if they identified the tree, the Gardens would be overrun by Potter groupies looking to take a selfie by the famous tree taken to slamming anyone who came too close.
So Marc and I just tried to guess and take photos of the most likely candidates.
A couple of problems arose: there are LOTS of trees in the gardens that have big, twisted trunks and several that look just like what I can remember from the movies.
The other problem is that the tree changes from movie to movie.
Sometimes it has big, clubby branches that it flings around trying to keep snoopy kids away.
Other times it's dark and still.
It's always a really big tree with dark bark.
Here's a few that I think qualify to be the one:
Too plump at the bottom

Too gnarly

Is this it? I like this one.
You tell me.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lost in London

How hard can it be to find somebody here?
We thought we were doing a good deed when Marc and I offered to find one of the women on our tour when she went missing.
We were all at the British Library looking at the Magna Carta and other valuable pieces of written history when those in charge noticed that Susie was not there.
Susie was one of the 38 people on our "Traditions of Christ in Ancient Britain" bus tour and somehow she hadn't made it over to the library from the British Museum.
Because Marc and I are somewhat familiar with London and the tube and the buses, I volunteered us to help find Susie.
We hadn't been with the bunch for the British Museum stop (we'd been at church) but we knew where it was and we know roughly how it's laid out.
The tour director gratefully said she'd let us go look for Susie. (She was so worried she was willing to accept any offers!)
Off we went.
It wasn't until we got into the museum that I realized I didn't have some vital information and resources.
For instance, we hadn't changed our phones to work in Europe. We didn't want to pay roaming or data fees so we were depending on Marc's iPad for basic needs on this trip.
If we found Susie we couldn't call to tell the director that.
If we didn't find Susie we couldn't relay that information either. We really wouldn't be able to do much.
It also dawned on me that finding a little old lady in a crowded museum on a Sunday afternoon wouldn't be easy, especially since we weren't with her that morning to notice things like what she was wearing at the time of departure.
As I tried to describe Susie to the security guards and the lady at the information desk, I realized I didn't even know Susie's last name.
"She's about 80 with white hair. She's thin, very thin and tall," I said and looked around to see about 100 thin, old ladies go by with white hair.
The information desk lady told us to sit down nearby and watch for Susie.
She called docents to scan the galleries. Had they noticed a little old lady looking lost?
Our selfless effort was fairly fruitless and it wasn't because of us that Susie showed up later that day, escorted home by a Londoner who found her at the library about an hour after the tour group left.
Susie wasn't worried.
She'd just walked over from the museum to the library once she figured out she'd been left behind.
She seemed pretty sure that all would end well.
I'm glad she's all right.
I'm happy she is safe and we did the right thing to try and help.
I'm just thinking maybe in the future, I ought to get it a bit more together before I go charging ahead!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

About that tattoo on your back?

As both of us "celebrated" turning 65 this year, Marc and I are trying to take responsible steps regarding our financial future.
We've been in to talk over our investments with our broker and we're looking into the whole Medicare thing, trying to learn to speak and understand government lingo.
We are mapping out the budget to see if we will be able to live on what we've saved and what will be coming in from various sources.
We sat down one night and opened accounts so we can sign up for Social Security.
Has anybody else found that a challenging exercise?
Talk about driving home the feeling that our government has been tracking us all since birth, this does it.
To set up an account you choose from multiple answers to questions like: What kind of car did you finance in 1989? Who held the loan?
What credit card were you approved for in 2013? 
What is the name of your current mortgage company and do you owe X or Y?
It's nothing like the security questions you answer to maintain privacy on your bank account and those are hard enough: what was the name of your first pet or what was the name of your first-grade teacher?
I find those questions sufficiently difficult. I have to go write them down somewhere if I want to get them right the next time I need them. (Is Mrs. Rumsberg with an "e" or a "u?")
Did I put down my pet's name as "Taffy?" or his whole name: "Taffy Woofy Waffle Hancock?"
The government obviously had records of every financial transaction ever made and can check to see if you get it right.
There's no bluffing your way through this which I suppose is good.
No one else will know where I bought my first car or how much I paid for it.
Nobody else can guess what the mortgage payment was on my first home, not even me.
The problem I see here is that by the time you reach the age to be drawing Social Security, your brain barely works that well anymore.
Things are a bit fuzzy.
How can we aged folks pass the test?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Apple a day...

My husband has a few things he really loves: me, his children, grandchildren, his iPad and TV.
So when his iPad quit taking a charge, I felt his pain.
He's only had this one for a little less than a year and he relies on it for just about everything but meals. Want to know what time it is in London? He'll grab the iPad. Want to know the name of the guy rocking out on stage with the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson? The iPad can give him the answer.
In addition, we use it a lot for games when we're waiting for a movie to start or if we're in a long line or have 15 minutes before we have to be anywhere.
It's his friend.
And we'll need it in Europe when we go. Games on the iPad makes a long flight go much faster.
So I was willing to help him out when the guys at the Apple store told him he would need to trade it in for a model with a working charge port.
We'd ridden into Salt Lake to visit the computer store (that I think is unlike any other store on the planet. There are no clothes, toys or chocolates. Yet there are long lines of people handing over a lot of money for virtual needs).
We had talked with the people there and they said the iPad was flawed and — good news — they were more than happy to replace it with a new one.
It's under warranty and it's not his fault that it's broken and the planets were in alignment.
The only problem was they didn't have one.
We'd have to go to the Fashion Place store for the swap.
Well, it was late, we had a concert to get to and Marc had to work the next day so I offered to drive up and get it.
I just had one proviso. He had to be available for the inevitable questions I figured I would be asked to answer.
I didn't want to have to suffer for my good deed.
"Sure thing," he said. "I can do that."
I drove up the freeway, found the Apple store and found the line...a long line of people waiting for their iPhone 7s.
When the attendant realized I just had to make an exchange, she waved me in.
There I found another line for an available clerk who sent me to wait some more at a nearby table.
Once I had a guy on the task and proved who I was with my driver's license, I figured I was good to go.
But no.
He whipped out the iPad and showed it to me.
"Does your husband want a backup?"
"Uh, I dunno."
"Do you know his Apple ID?"
"Do you want to enter a password for him?"
"Uh, just a sec."
I started trying to call Marc.
He didn't pick up.
I tried again, still no answer.
The sales guy was getting a little antsy. There were other people, lots of other people more clued in than I who were waiting for his attention.
There were people who wanted therapy and help with their new, expensive toys, people with money to spend.
I couldn't get Marc on his iPhone so I just told the guy it was fine and I'd just take it as is.
He looked dubious but let me go.
So here I am now, home and feeling dumb.
What do you think?
Should I know any of this stuff?
Is that in the wife's manual?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ransom of Red Chief

Cael showing his sword to the Chick-Fil-A cow earlier

I can see where it certainly looked like a kidnapping.
You had Marc, a grey-haired old man manhandling this fiesty little kid all the way down the sidewalk and into the backseat of an SUV.
The child was screaming and kicking and hollering for moma.
Marc was just trying to keep hold of him and avoid the flailing feet.
We were leaving the annual Renaissance Academy fund-raiser carnival where there were hundreds of loose children.
Cael was tired and hungry and thirsty. He'd been bouncing in the bounce houses and trailing the Chick-Fil-A cow for hours.
And he really wanted his mother who had to stay another hour to man the booth for Adell's fifth-grade class.
We were headed to Pizza Pie Cafe for something to eat, one of our good deeds for the afternoon.
But Cael just knew we were leaving without his mom.
I didn't have any water with me.
We were treated out.
I couldn't explain to him that it would all be fine.
And I couldn't hold onto this whirling dervish once he got going.
I handed him off to Marc who's a lot better at hanging onto children having meltdowns.
I went ahead with the three older sisters and got into my car while Marc headed to our other car with Cael.
I watched as Marc tried to buckle Cael in. All I could see were flying feet. All I could hear was yelling.
That's when I noticed this concerned-looking lady walking over to see what the fuss was all about.
She approached slowly and carefully.
She had her phone out.
I think she was ready to dial 911.
That's when I pulled up to the side of Marc to offer support, and, if necessary, to corroborate his story. Adell got out to help.
The lady looked relieved to see us.
"I'm sorry. I thought he was being kidnapped," she said to Marc. "He's so upset."
"It's Ok," I told her. "He's our grandson. He's all right."
She smiled and walked away still looking uneasy.
I guess it's good that well-meaning people get involved, huh?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Harry Potter lottery

Marc and I aren't big gamblers.
If and when we find ourselves in Vegas, we only rarely lose a few quarters in the slot machines.
We don't do Blackjack or Texas Hold'em or the roulette wheel.
Neither of us is particularly lucky with dice or cards and we don't like to throw money away so we just don't bet on anything but death and taxes.
Except where Harry Potter is concerned.
Our interest in this wizard and his world is a little over the top.
We're going to throw in for a pair of tickets to the newest J.K. Rowling release, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," that's going to be on stage when we're in England next.
The play is already sold out months in advance so the only chance we have of getting tickets is to be online the week prior and hope we are lucky enough to win the opportunity to buy some of the 40 tickets they'll release that day.
The tickets are 40 pounds each and will give us seats for two sittings, either two on the same day or one each night for two consecutive nights.
We're watching the countdown clock already (at:
We are going to be in London for four nights of our "Traditions of Christ in Ancient Britain" tour and figure we have nothing to lose by trying.
We just have to be online at exactly the right time, get chosen and get options for the days we will actually be in the city.
It can't hurt to hope, right?
I've already bought and read the script for this new "book" which is actually not a bound book.
It's a script with stage notes and it comes with an admonition from Rowling to keep the secrets.
So I can't tell you the plotline or reveal any of the surprises.
But it does have Harry and Ron and Hermione and Snape and Dumbledore and Draco in it.
It made for a quick read and I, for one, don't mind making Rowling a bit richer by paying for her book and hopefully paying for tickets to the play.
Especially when I had resigned myself to nevermore any Pottermore.
This is a welcome story.
It has a nice amount of magic and it's interesting. Rowling has a gift for creating a world that looks fun and dangerous to live in.
I would love to see the actual play.
I'll just cross my fingers, rub my lucky rabbit's foot and click my heels together.