Friday, September 30, 2011

How quickly we forget

It's hard for me to believe how many years it's been since we were all glued to our television stations watching the OJ Simpson trial.
I remember waiting anxiously the day of the expected verdict to either post "Guilty!" or "Free to go" on the Deseret News electronic sign hung outside the Utah County Bureau office.
There was no need to add "Simpson" or "OJ" to the message. We knew everyone watching our message would know exactly who and what we meant.
Now, it's tough to remember the details other than the blood-shrunk glove that wouldn't fit onto OJ's hand and Marcia Clark's new hairdo.
I remember that it was a brutal slaying and one that pretty clearly told a tale of who-dunit.
I remember being outraged as a nation as Simpson oiled his way through his fishy story and away from having to take responsibility for his crimes.
I wouldn't have thought the day would come when the case wasn't on people's minds or when pictures of Nicole wouldn't be on every newsstand magazine cover.
But it has.
As Marc and I reviewed the latest Desert Star stage offering "Legally Brunette: Not All Dumbs Are Blonde," we were surprised at how many jokes no one in the audience seemed to get, jokes based on the trial and the testimony and the crimes.
I think most of the audience just didn't know what the jokes were about.
And while I personally don't think what OJ did or didn't do isn't exactly hilarious material, some of the bits should've played better.
The whole ordeal seems to have been securely put in the past, swept under a big rug with all the hideous details blurred by time.
Perhaps it's a good thing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Try shopping at home

My husband and I are long-time American Fork residents and because we've lived and worked here for many years, we feel some loyalty to the hometown businesses.
Many of the shop and business owners are friends and comrades.
We feel their pain when their livelihood is threatened.
So we try to shop "at home" when we can.
We buy groceries inside the city limits. We try to moderate our online shopping when possible.
But it's hard.
The local merchants don't necessarily make it all that possible.
For instance, when Marc needed some Scout socks to complete his WoodBadge uniform we trucked on down to the old Christensen's store. They have a display of Scout shirts in the window and we remember the days when this store was big time in the community.
The door was locked and the interior was dark. "Not open on Saturdays" read the small sign in the window.
I came back on a Tuesday just after noon. "Only open from 1:00 to 3:30 daily" said the smaller sign in the window.
I couldn't believe it. I had money in my hand and the need to purchase but in order to do that I would have to return during the magic window.
We gave up and drove to Orem to buy what we needed.
Yesterday I decided to buy the blinds we need for the upstairs bedroom.
Since it's "designed" in pinks, yellows and greens, I wanted matching blinds.
But I didn't want to pay $100 for such blinds.
We drove down to the local Lowe's. Nobody was at the desk.
We hung around until a boy showed up who could call somebody for us.
She arrived fairly shortly but she knew nothing about blinds, what they cost, what colors they came in, what sizes were available, nothing.
She had a nice smile and she apologized all over the place.
But the end result was, she couldn't help and so today I'm ordering blinds off the Internet.
It's a little cheaper, very easy to do and my problem is now solved.
It's just a shame that local businesses can't survive in this economy, huh?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Missing meals

Marc and I are now on our last week of the most painful part of the HCG diet (the starvation 500 calorie-a-day part) and it's been a tough go.
We're whining and crying.
This is our second time through so we thought we were better prepared.
But maybe because we are a little older and maybe because we did pretty well the first time as diet newbies, we thought this would be easier.
We knew what we were getting ourselves into pretty much. Nothing but fish and chicken and lettuce for lunch and dinner for 21 days starting with an orange, an apple, a grapefruit or six strawberries for breakfast.
But it hasn't been easier.
I think it's been infinitely harder and we watched the days go slowly by.
I'm not sure why it's been so difficult but it's definitely been a mental as well as a physical challenge.
A meal these days
Maybe it's because we've been more strict with ourselves — the minestrone bean soup from Olive Garden that was a mainstay before was ruled inadmissable. So was the chili we relied on.
I've been home and Marc has been at the office, the reverse of our former work situations so I've had to deal with living with available food at my beck and call and he's been packing a hearty lunch of fish and apples.
We're also convinced that the TV stations have upped the number of good food commercials they show at prime time. Never have restaurant entrees and desserts looked so delicious.
I think we're also more anxious for the pounds to fall away and although we've both now lost what we did during the entire diet last time, we're greedy. We want more for our suffering, like an extra 10 lb. loss.
But we're almost home free and we're noticing a change in how we fit into our clothes. We've both lost a chin or two.
Next Monday we can have eggs again and bacon and milk and cheese and we can hardly wait. If we watch the sugars and the starch, we can almost have dessert.
Protein replenishment — here we come!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Elvis would just cry

I'm hearing rumors that the U.S. Post Office might be closing its doors.
Apparently email and texting has killed the need for people to buy stamps, wrap packages in plastic tape and wait endlessly in line to send greetings and information.
And although I understand the problems and frustrations there are with snail mail, I'll be sad to see it go.
Getting the mail every day is such a kick.
I even enjoy getting bills and junk mail as long as there's something tucked in there, even better when there's fun like a check or an invitation to a wedding.
I like to open the mailbox and find treasure. I still get mad at Marc when he beats me to the box.
I try to imagine a future without the mailman.
The days will drag without a break.
There will be nothing to spark up the routine.
And what will happen to love songs like the Marvelette's one with lyrics such as "Wait. Oh, wait! Mr. Postman, Look and see, is there a letter for me!" and Elvis' "Return to Sender?"
Will they be obsolete? Will no one understand their true meaning?
They certainly won't have the same impact. Future generations won't have a clue as to what they're talking about.
("Oh, computer, send me some email?" and "Bounce back to sender?" won't be the same at all.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trudging through tombstones

The family name
My husband and I had a few days to ourselves a couple of weeks ago in Bear Lake.
The grandkids all had to be in school so after Labor Day it was just us so we decided to visit those local cemeteries that we always drive by and where we always say "We ought to stop there one day and look up the graves of..."
We started with the Bloomington cemetery where we knew there were Haddock kin.
Right away we found success as the Haddock ancestors are all in the same southwest corner.
We shot photographs and took down the pertinent details so we could fix errors we've found in New Family Search.
We then buzzed over to the Paris cemetery where we knew his mother's parents were buried. We each took half of the place and tromped through the thistle and pinecones trying to find Dunns.
No luck. We called Marc's brother Kerry who is the Bear Lake County Recorder and asked what he knew. He came up from his office in Paris and tried to help. He couldn't find anything either but he promised to use his connections and see if he could get a plot map (which he did and which we then used to find the pair of markers I had to have walked by at least three times).
We went on to Bennington and Georgetown, places Marc didn't realize had any of his ancestors until now.
We found his mother's mother's folks.
We found the name of one of her grandfathers on a plaque outside the DUP relic house. He'd been a prominent member of the community, a schoolteacher.
Who knew?
We looked around in Georgetown and found more names that matter to us.
We came back to Montpelier and found Marc's mom and dad's graves — from his dad's he can see over the third hole on the local golf course where he spent much of his leisure time.
The Dunn headstones we couldn't find
We stopped at the Oregon Trails Center and discovered the washtub and golf club "guitar" his dad used as a prop when he performed with the popular Lion's Club Trio.
We discovered a book about Max Haddock that detailed the trio's journey and told us things we never knew about this man. We unearthed a couple of CDs with their songs recorded on them.
All in all, it proved to be a most valuable few days.
We now have so much more to do and so much more pressure.
These people in the ground have become real to us and it's a lot harder to ignore them.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back in business

I've always been cowardly when it came to computers.
It's kind of like being around horses for me. I believe they can smell fear and will take advantage when they do.
So I mostly go along trying not to upset the balance of the computer universe.
I don't usually add the patches and upgrades I should.
I try not to mess with buttons that go to places I'm not sure I want to go.
So when trouble arises, I call on my husband who is fearless where machines and technology are concerned.
He can fix the problem but I can't bear to watch.
He drives around the screen and through the programs with abandon, trying this and that until he finds a solution.
The guy at The Deseret News who fixed my email problem is the same way.
He simply diagnosed the situation as "Entourage sometimes gets its back up" and started the process of shutting down my existing program.
He said the best way to solve my problem was to eliminate the program entirely and start afresh.
I tried not to gasp as he deleted and cleaned and resolved.
He went here and he went there, stopping to add upgrades along the way with no pause.
(I had a bunch of upgrades waiting to be installed because I'd rather use "Ask Later" than attempt something new.)
He adjusted some parameters and put stuff into folders and retrieved the email I hadn't been getting.
He bookmarked a page for me so I could get it myself in the future if Entourage develops another headache.
I was impressed and oh, so grateful.
But I remain afraid. These computers, upon which we depend for our daily bread, can't be trusted.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blind on the email side

Presently, I can't get my emails from the system I count on.
It's very frustrating.
It's more so because I'm pretty sure whatever is wrong can be simply fixed when my husband gets home.
In the meantime, I'm limping along with another email provider that I usually only employ for family and non-business-related messages.
The one I use for all of my work email is kaput.
It won't cough up the emails sent after yesterday afternoon at 4:31 when somehow I turned off the receiver.
I called the systems guy and he said I hadn't emptied my trash so I dutifully went through all of my files and dumped stuff, probably some stuff I'm going to need again someday.
I only had about 1500 emails in my In box, my Deleteds and my Sent Items.
What could be wrong with that?
And I've apologized profusely to my computer for not being more tidy along the way.
I shut it down and restarted.
I even promised never to hoard emails again.
But still nothing.
So if you've sent me anything important in the last 24 hours, I haven't got it and won't until Marc can sort it out.
In the meantime, if it's serious, I guess you could call me.
How archaic is that?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The second time around

Marc's breakfast
Sharon's breakfast
You'd think going back on the HCG diet would be easier the second time through, right?
For one thing, it seems it would be easier on the budget and on the kitchen because you're basically eating nothing.
But it's harder actually.
You're clearing the boards, tossing out perfectly good foods so they won't be a temptation and because they'll go bad before you can eat them.
You're buying lots of strange things like limes, Melba Toast, Stevia sweetener and way more onions.
There's a precious tiny bottle of serum in the fridge where eggs used to be and syringes on the table with the salt and pepper.
Suddenly the postal scale has a prominent place on the counter.
The bathroom scale takes on a major role as you weigh in each morning to see if the pounds are indeed dropping off.
Trips to the grocery story are arduous because so much of the merchandise is off-limits. The bakeries and sweet shops call to the brain and stomach.
Marc and I promised ourselves the first time we would only do this once but for one reason and another there are still pounds we want to shed.
Mid-morning lifesaver
I've loved not taking insulin and he likes fitting into his current clothes.
Our doctor says one more time through the starvation diet and we'll be in control we go again.
We're counting the calories and cooking up lots of chicken and fish.
We're talking a lot about food or more truthfully, the lack thereof.
We're also realizing more fully this time that it's not so much a physical diet as a mental one.
On the load days you're conscious of the fats you're encouraged to consume. It feels so wrong.
On the starvation days you're incredibly aware of just how many calories are in every food you are allowed to put in your mouth.
On the protein days you avoid sugars and starches so by the end of the six weeks, you never really relax around food again. Bread becomes literally manna from Heaven that's out of reach until the end.
For me, this easiest way to sort it out is to recognize that nearly everything I really like is loaded with fat, sugar or starch.
I just should've started out in life with more appreciation for things like beets, chard and chicory.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Keeping my glasses with me

Hard though it is to admit, I'm now one of those old ladies with glasses on a chain that hang from her neck.
I never thought I'd get there but somehow here I am.
Since I often lose my glasses, I've decided it's time.
I've tried really hard to avoid it.
I make sure I ALWAYS put my glasses in one of "three" places: in my purse in their little container, in the kitchen drawer or in the plastic tray in the bathroom...unless I'm busy and put them down when I'm holding or changing the baby ('nuff said?), holding the toddler (who loves to grab them) or reading stories to an older child and I can't see the text.
Sometimes I put them in the meds holder at breakfast or lay them on the arm of the chair if I'm trying to read something in my planner. Once in a while I put them on the desk by my computer or on the ledge in the laundry room.
Marc had gotten so he doesn't even blink when I announce "I can't find my glasses. Just a minute."
I generally end up searching all kinds of odd places for them because they're no-frame lenses so they are really hard to see on surfaces like our granite counter top or on the floor (if they've dropped off the chair arm or couch seat).
It's an exercise that always makes me panic because I don't want to pay another $400 for a new pair and I can't drive without them.
So I acknowledged the situation and went to the store for a chain. I forked over $10 for a nice chain made of little blue rocks and fit my glass temple pieces into the rubber fittings.
I put them over my head.
Hmm. They felt funny and made me look like my grandma.
But I figured I just needed to get used to the feeling.
So I wore them for a few days. Now the glasses are within reach.
However, they bump into all kinds of things and catch on other kinds of things.
And I'm starting to take them off — chain and all — when I want to read, relax or focus.
So now here I am, looking the part and my age.
The only difference is now when I lose my glasses, I lose my glasses chain too.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top picks at Storytelling Festival

Just a quick note here.
We popped in for the "Look Who's Talkin'" event last night at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and heard almost all of this year's storytellers.
(Bruce Lindsay had to do the 10 o'clock news so he wasn't in the lineup.)
Here are my top picks if you get the chance to go:
Willy and Maynard
The Donald
Willy Claflin and his sidekick Maynard Moose are hilarious and a refreshing kind of story with Maynard making great faces (for a stuffed animal) and even better noises as he dies, thwoops, and thwumps.
Donald Davis, as always, is the consummate storyteller with his Southern twang and indignified body language and expression.
Sheila Starks Phillips was amazing and highly entertaining as she told the story of the lady trying to get a turkey vulture festival going.
They are my top three but are closely followed by Beth Horner — back with a truly engaging brain-boggling story of how her mother's mind works.
Kevin Kling
Kevin Kling is an unassuming but powerful teller who doesn't let his physical challenges keep him from telling wonderful tales about baseball and growing up.
Mitch Capel has a really nice delivery, rhythmic and funny as does Charlie Chin.
Antonio Rocha has this elastic face and remarkable range of voice.
The festival started last night and goes through Saturday evening with funny stories, scary stories and the chance to try your hand at recording one of your own.
If we weren't headed to Bear Lake for the week, I wouldn't miss it. (Maybe I can sneak back for more Maynard Moose on Saturday afternoon!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Horsing around

My husband is really tired right now so it's a good thing we're taking a vacation this next week.
It may be from horsing around, floating by at work and sleeping under the stars for six days, who knows?
It's been an interesting past couple of weeks given that, as a rule, Marc doesn't ride horses, raft rivers or camp out.
But the people who hired him for a commercial didn't seem to care that their 60-year-old cowboy has only ridden horses on the occasional vacation.
They cast him anyway to sit on a big, brown equine animal for a few hours and shout "Are ya coming?" to the lady actor on top of the building.
Then the management of the marketing department at his job decided they wanted to show the out-of-town guests the thrills of rafting the Provo River, never mind that no one had any real experience rafting.
Marc ended up rowing and tugging and jumping in and out of the water for the afternoon. He came home all wet and invigorated and exhausted.
Add that to the fact that he'd been at Woodbadge training for the past couple of weekends and he's a worn-out guy.
He's learned a lot and he doesn't regret much of it, except maybe the being away from me. (Right? Right?)
He hasn't had any time lately to be bored with his routine. Every day is a new adventure.
And he's finally got some use out of his cowboy boots bought years ago for another gig and he's now the proud owner of a fine-looking Scout uniform.
He has all kinds of new aches and pains.
Jet-skiing and hiking and biking at Bear Lake will seem pretty tame this time around.