Friday, April 18, 2014

Dealing with Il Divo

It's no secret that the Il Divo guys are good-looking.
And talented.
And successful.
And rather sexy.
But they have the good sense to play it down, for the most part.
Except for Carlos, the bass singer from Spain...he works it.
He flirts shamelessly and reminds the world he's single, wink, wink!
His shirt is open and he kind of swaggers around the stage.
The audience — mostly middle-aged women — on Tuesday night, loved it and him.
My husband just laughed.
He was roped into going with me to review the concert and played the good sport.
Marc chuckled when the foursome stepped onto the stage and the audience gasped.
I don't think he was expecting everyone to instantly fall in love.
But as they sang love song after love song with gusto and fervor, it quickly became apparent that these singers know their stuff.
They move with confidence.
They smile with their eyes.
They create an aura of magic.
I enjoyed all three hours — really, three hours — of their music, even though most of the songs they performed are oldies but goodies.
They sang in all kinds of languages, flawlessly, powerfully.
The only mistake I heard in the whole concert was actually made by the lady singer who joined them for segments of their North American Tour.
She said she just loves the clean air in Salt Lake City and for some reason, that didn't go over as well as a lot of the evening.
Perhaps someone should tell her about our inversions.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A TV Mystery

I've never really understood television, how it works and why it matters.
For me, it's enough to know which button to push to make it go.
I rely on Marc to choose which provider gives us the signal, to create a favorites list and to know which remote to keep handy.
So when our collection of remotes became unwieldy and finally stopped talking to the TV altogether, I was unaware with the gravity of the situation.
I figured we needed new batteries or a new remote.
I listened to Marc's despair without true concern.
For one thing, he can usually fix anything to do with signals and buttons.
For another, I knew he would not go very long without a working television.
It matters to him. (Me, as long as I can get "Bold and Beautiful," I'm good.)
He was alarmed when I told him I couldn't get the television to come on anymore — even after I sort of rebooted by turning the power on and off.
He picked up the four remotes and started pushing places.
Finally, he cried "Uncle!" and we hauled the set over to a repairman in Orem.
Sixty-five dollars later, we had a death sentence.
He said a Blue Tooth chip in it stopped responding. He said Sony no longer makes the kind of TV we had and no longer provided a remote that worked with it either.
Marc was livid. He called Sony up and hollered at several underlings.
We checked on our warranty. (Of course, this TV is just over the 2-year period.)
The repairman gave us back our TV and said we might try buying an infrared remote if we could find one. We found one for $85.
Then we had to find a computer that could upload the program. Mine was not up to the task. We tried my daughter's.
It did it...for a minute...then it stopped.
Totally discouraged, Marc told me to take back the expensive remote but the cashier wanted to know if we had talked to the people who made the remote.
We hadn't. Marc was skeptical but he did it and, ta da, it's currently working.
We're thrilled and relieved not to have to toss a perfectly good TV or spend $600 for a new one.
But I'm not sure we can hold our breath and cross our fingers much longer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

'Noah' on the rocks

Donny Osmond recommended we all skip the movie "Noah."
This entertainer who successfully played the part of Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" said the prophet in the movie was unrecognizable.
Here's what he posted:
"I just saw the movie Noah. I really wanted to like it. I really did. However, I still like Russell Crowe despite the movie.
"I would not recommend it.
"It's completely inaccurate and I was thoroughly disappointed in the portrayal of a great prophet from a book I hold dear."

At first we laughed. A guy who played a prophet in a musical spoof calling the prophet Noah a fiction?
We should have listened to his advice.
As it turned out, Marc and I sat through what I call "Noah and the Transformers" mostly open-mouthed and in a state of disbelief.
It's not that we expected a churchy movie.
We expected grit, earthy behavior and some slight deviations from the Bible.
But, come on, a stowaway hiding on the ark where eating meat is the greatest sin?
A creator who can fix a barren woman but can't find a bunch of berries to eat?
Giant rock guys guarding the place, rock guys who talk to God with an edge of bitterness because they were left behind the first time?
All the animals drugged into endless sleep as the ark sails along? (That cuts down on the noise, the needed feed and the waste problem.)
An ark without cubits?
A God who wants Noah to kill baby girls so as to ensure that mankind dies out?
Here is a movie written without faith and hope and, frankly, without a God of truth and love.
It makes one envision all these screenwriters in a room trying to make this story work without the essential elements.
"Let's see, Noah has to be a man, just a man...hmmm, fueled by rage and despair. We can't have him actually communicating with God.
"The world has to be worried about him but not because he's preaching repentance and change but because he has things they want.
"He can't be a wimp."
Noah has to keep his word to a God he doesn't trust or like.
He has to operate alone with only Emma Watson to set him straight. 
It's makes this more of a comedy than an actual drama. It really is strange and disappointing.
We just can't wait for the Mystery Science Theater guys to get a hold of it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Give the girl a big kiss

I learned something new at the doctor's office yesterday.
It started with a phone call from Mia's other grandma just as I was getting out my paints.
Seems our adorable, ever curious 2-year-old had pushed a tiny, plastic, purple flower up into her nose and it wouldn't come back out.
Her grandma — who is taking the front end of the babysitting stint while Kari and Wade are in Hawaii — was worried.
"I don't think this is an emergency," she said. "But I think we might want to get her to a doctor."
I went into flying mode.
Since we live only a few minutes away from the girls, I know the way to their doctor and they know me at the office.
They didn't even blink when I announced I was bringing in a granddaughter with something up her nose.
I explained the situation and showed them the unhappy little girl.
(She actually was fairly calm and headed right for the Kid's Corner and the toys. She didn't get unhappy until they called her name and took her away from the toys.)
We went into the exam room.
There the doctor checked her out and verified that, yes, indeed, there was a tiny toy up inside her left nostril.
He thought over his options.
"I can try and get it out with some suction but there's something else I want to try first," he said. "You'll think it's a little strange."
He was looking at me.
"You'll need to do this because she knows you and she's less likely to fight you," he said.
OK. I remembered when her big sister did this with a little pink ball and it involved some screaming and wrestling. I wanted to watch somebody else do whatever had to be done.
"You need to pinch her other nostril shut and give her a big kiss, blowing a puff of air into her mouth when you kiss her. Sometimes that will push it right out," he explained.
Hmm. OK again.
I moved over to Mia who was laying there on the table all quiet.
I could do this.
I pinched her nose, I leaned down. I kissed her and puffed.
Nothing except she did taste like the chocolate cookie I'd given her on the way over.
"Try again, only seal her mouth with yours," said the doctor.
I did it again, puffing harder.
This time, a sliver of purple flower showed and I grabbed it, pulling out the offending toy to cheers from the nurses and the doctor.
Mia grinned and moved to hop off the table.
"That worked!" I said in surprise to the doctor, grateful that I could report to Mia's mom, dad and grandma that she was just fine.
"Yeah. It does sometimes. Great for when you get something like a popcorn kernel or something light up in there," he said.
Good to know given that we have a lot of little grandkids yet to try out what might fit in their noses.
Kind of like CPR for kids who inhale toys.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making a wise choice

At our house, we have one registered Republican and one registered Democrat — both with pretty strong views on politics.
Marc, like his father, is a Democrat and not afraid to shout it out.
I, like my mother, am a Republican because I always thought that was the right thing to be.
I grew up in a household where Republicans were just accepted as the party that good people supported.
For many years, I thought a Democrat was synonymous with a villian.
Thus, we've had many a discussion in our kitchen about socialism (which I think Democrats invented and support) and liberals (which Marc believes are a good thing if you're a thinking, sober voter.)
So when it became clear that we were expected to attend voter caucuses this year it got interesting at our house.
Marc was headed to the Democratic one but felt like it was going to be a waste of his time since no one else in Utah seems to be a Democrat.
I was headed to the Republican caucus but unsure of what I would be getting into.
Marc has been before and even been a delegate.
But I still didn't see what I could accomplish.
My views are admittedly more liberal than most standard issue Republicans, especially in Utah.
Marc went off to his and came back elected as precinct chair and appointed to be a delegate.
But he said the caucus was poorly organized, poorly attended and it was hard to tell where to go.
In contrast, we got this detailed note on our door advising us about the Republican Neighborhood Caucus.
It listed where, when and how with phone numbers to call with questions.
We were told we could file for office in advance, skip waiting in the check-in line and pre-register online.
We were told we could even register at the door and send in our ballots without attending the meeting.
It was informative and it promised refreshments.
It provided a stark contrast to the Democratic preparation and I like cookies.
I think I'll stick with the Republicans.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Know the territory

So the guy lecturing to us was from out of town.
He really had no way of knowing whom he was talking to other than he was speaking for the Utah Library Association to a roomful of library directors and library board members at a Trustee Training event.
He was actually pretty good at discussing the topic and at helping us all realize we have to bring more to the table as trustees.
We need to communicate our love for libraries and market what a library brings to a community.
We need to come prepared to discuss agenda topics and make sound decisions without a lot of dilly-dallying.
We were interested in what he had to say.
And we listened when he told us to take our opportunities when they came around.
We were attentive.
Sometimes we even answered his questions.
But when he asked us if we like Nebraska, there wasn't a swift response.
There was a thunderous quiet.
When he asked if anybody has seen the movie, "Nebraska," he really showed he was clueless.
He was pretty surprised that no one raised their hand.
"Really?" he said, "Nobody here has seen the movie? It's a pretty good movie!"
We all just sort of sat there taken by surprise.
He apparently lives in Nebraska and thinks it's a great place.
He wanted us to share our opinions but we were instead a totally silent group.
I don't think any of us really disagreed with his opinions on the state but seeing the movie is another thing entirely.
I wanted to explain the obvious to this guy.
I don't think he put it together.
He was in Utah.
We are pretty much Mormons here and we don't go to see R-rated movies.
If we do, we're probably not going to admit to it in public.
My heck.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Desktop Explosion

Happy me
I now have a semi-professional cubbyhole to call my own.
I've been working on a Walmart special since I set up my little office and it's worked OK. But after I bought a real office chair last year, the tiny pressboard desk I bought years ago for a child has seemed inadequate.
It wobbled when I moved in too closely. It couldn't bear much weight.
There was no desk drawer, just a small cupboard space where I could put paper.
When I had a phone interview I had to move to the kitchen table so I had room to put down a writing pad.
Papers and notes were often flying.
I was kind of teetering on the brink of disaster most of the time since this room is also one of the playrooms for the grandchildren. You never knew what could get covered in hot pink marker.
An explosion out of the box
I mentioned to Marc that I might like to replace my $5 desk in the coming year, maybe with an antique rolltop or some such kind of furniture.
Bless his heart, he immediately seized upon the opportunity to help me find what I wanted.
We went out. We saw this cute little hutch/computer desk that was on sale and I fell in love.
A foolproof process
We bought it and then realized it came in parts in a big box with an instruction sheet detailing the 34 steps it would take to put it together.
It was a kind of Chinese Lego project where you can't really see where you are going until you're done and the picture didn't match the finished product.
For me, it was a nail-biter series of days filled with impatience watching Marc sort out the pieces, pound in nails and screw in 50 little tacks.
I gave away my existing workspace and worked wherever.
Meanwhile, Marc slaved.
He did it!
(To his credit, he only lost his temper once during the process when we discovered a broken and blistered top rail that I had to take back to the store — in Draper, but that's another blog.)
He'd go to his paying job and then come home to work on his knees in the playroom, sweating and huffing as these odd bits came together to form an actual piece of nice furniture.
It's beautiful and it defines my writing space.
It's peaceful and I'm pleased. I can be productive here.
Now I just need some chocolate and a little Il Divo in the background.