Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Games we people play

We are a game-playing pair, Marc and I.
We love a good sparring match that involves teeny playing pieces, pages of silly rules and the opportunity to control a make-believe world for just a little while.
As a result, we usually get games for Christmas and spend most of our holidays learning new games.
This year, we got a stack that included a couple that we approached with much caution.
One was from my brother and his wife who are also game addicts.
My sister-in-law dropped it off in the afternoon and by evening we had it open justifying the early open by claiming we needed to know what not to buy them in return.
It's called "Stone Age" and at first, we were overwhelmed at the rules.
New stack of fun
"Why does Darrell always give us hard games?" I asked as Marc read the rules out loud for a long time.
Then we decided to give it a whirl and see what happened.
We loved it!
It went quickly and the little villagers made baby villagers and the whole tribe tromped around gathering wood, clay, gold and stone.
They went a' hunting.
And they got hungry so we had to feed them at the end of every turn.
We've played and played and introduced it to several other households.
Another game is from Marc's oldest daughter and her husband. They like complexity as well so we looked at this one with suspicion.
It's called "Power Grid" and I sat glumly through the reading of rules once more.
But this one proved to be fairly easy to set up and handle.
Basically you buy cities and fuels and power the American nation, pipeline by pipeline.
It's interesting and forces you to rely on the more expensive but less finite fuels...sounds like a lesson in environmental science but it's not. It's more about linking cities and doing a bit of math.
Then we had one biggie left to try, called "Castle Panic!"
This one looked impossible, sort of like a copy of Dungeons and Dragons with a boatload of monsters who try to take over the Castle.
Once again, this game proved to be so much fun...especially when we played with a couple of grandkids.
You have to share the fight and combine efforts to defeat the 49 -- yes, 49 -- monsters.
The last time we barely had a castle tower standing but we won.
It's a keeper as well.
Now my only question is, who can come over next to play? We have choices...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sew it's Santa

Ho Ho Ho!
The raw materials
I knew I might have bitten off more than I could chew when the lady at the cutting counter asked me what I was making with all the red material.
When I told her I was going to make a Santa suit, she said, "My, you're brave!"
I kind of wondered why she said that.
I mean, how hard could it be? A pair of pants and a coat with fur trim, maybe a hat with a pom-pom?
I soon discovered that making a Santa suit requires a LOT of time and figuring.
First of all, it's more than the outfit. It's the hat and the gloves and the boots and the beard and the belt and the bells on a leather strap.
Secondly, Marc and I had different ideas about how finely turned out we wanted Santa to be.
I'm thinking, soft, red fabric and plush whitish fur.
He's thinking a plush velvet and fine, expensive trimming.
I'm looking at getting away with about $100 for the whole shebang.
Can you tell who it is?
He's looking at $90 boots on the internet and a beard and wig that he can feel good about wearing.
By my calculations, we were heading toward a $500 ensemble.
I also wanted to be able to sew this thing together.
So I got the fabric I wanted even though Marc was dubious.
He surveyed the coat with suspicion until I told him it still needed the shoulder pads.
"That might help," he said.
He looked at the pants with similar reservation and suggested suspenders would be a good idea.
We compromised on the boots. He settled for snow boats he already had and I added cuffs to the pants.
I made a vinyl belt with a shiny diamond buckle after we scoped out what was available and not.
We borrowed some bells.
He bought white gloves from an open Santa suit at the costume shop and cleaned off the scuff marks.
I made a pretty good pom-pom for the hat.
Santa's hat and belt
It's been a journey as I tried to maintain my regular schedule and work full-time in the Santa suit factory.
I cleaned up all kinds of bits of fake fur which sheds like crazy.
I cut, interfaced, sewed on velcro through stubborn layers, made pockets, ironed, turned cuffs around when the fur went the wrong way.
It's finally finished and I'm really rather pleased with the result.
Now I just have to make sure no little untrained kid sits on Santa's lap with sticky hands.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gingerly now...

Conner's concentration
Focus Fiona

Adell wielding the frosting gun

So pretty Hannah

Needs more frosting here (Mia)

The 2-year-old couldn't believe her good luck...There were bowls full of candy all over the table and free frosting. It was a dream come true.
We were decorating gingerbread houses and this was her first time at it so she practiced well. Frost, decorate, eat the candies off. Repeat.
We had some of the grandkids together for what used to be an annual tradition until some of the kids grew older and others became dedicated to gymnastics.
We made little graham cracker houses and put out trims of all kinds; M&Ms, Smarties, marshmellows, Dots, candy corn and star-shaped pretzels.
We filled a few bags with frosting and squeezed it out in pretty lines (some just got squeezed out but that's all right).
It was an artistic and sugary adventure that said "Merry Christmas" in a sweet, sweet way.
Did anybody get any sleep after?
Kyle meeting the back of the baby what? (Brayden)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jingled my bells

We were in Hobby Lobby looking for jingle bells.
Marc and I have a holiday project we're working on that requires some bells, big ones that sound like Santa is coming to town.
We've seen some on leather straps for horses but we didn't want those and we didn't want to pay $25 for the ones we could find on the internet.
We buzzed on back to the rear of the store where I thought I had seen some.
We didn't have much time. The store was closing soon and we had things still to do.
So when I didn't find what we wanted right away, I looked around for help.
There were a couple of guys working in the aisle.
I stepped up to one and said, "Do you know where the bells are?"
He looked annoyed and frowned at me.
"What kind of bells? Jingly bells, like Christmas bells?" he asked.
I nodded, expecting he would direct me to the proper aisle or at least, say he didn't know.
"Yeah, jingle bells."
"Well, then, they would be in the Christmas section," he said and not very nicely.
He may have had more to say but I felt dismissed and turned away, waving him off with my hand.
I walked off without further discussion.
Marc was fairly shocked at my behavior.
How could I be so rude?
I couldn't believe and will defend to the death my right to be indignant.
How can a person who works in a craft store not know where the bells are and why it matters?
Is this the most outlandish question someone will ask during the season? Was I out of line to bother this guy who gets paid to work with old ladies like me?
And what makes him think "in the Christmas section" is any kind of definitive answer?
If anybody has seen Hobby Lobby lately, they'll know the whole store is a Christmas section, from front to back and side to side.
And, by the way, the jingle bells were two aisles over.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jerusalem from the top

 Jerusalem 3D
The man in charge at the Clark Planetarium said we should appreciate the fact that by coming to the screening of National Geographics' "Jerusalem 3D" we'd saved ourselves about $15,000 or basically the cost of a trip to the Holy Land.
I don't think so.
If anything, the film sold us on going there someday.
Aerial shots of the ancient iconic buildings and the River Jordan and the Western Wall and the mountain fortress are intriguing and impressive. (This is never-before-seen footage from the region's no-fly zone.)
It makes one want to stroll the streets, shop at the open market and relive bygone eras.
In addition, the producers have focused in on three young women from each of the three religions: Jewish, Muslim and Christian.
You see the city through their eyes and, in the end, understand that each religion has its own view of Jerusalem and until they come together, there's a disconnect between people who love the area passionately.
In a 40-minute sweep, you come to appreciate this city mentioned more than any other in the Bible and aptly regarded as the pivotal center of the world.
It's crowded with scriptural significance and history.

A few worshipers at the Western Wall
Writer/Director Daniel Ferguson with Scott Hoffman

The music is beautiful.
The spirit is strong. It's a satisfying virtual journey that will do until we can get there in real life.
It plays through April 2014 at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and 7 p.m. at the planetarium in the IMAX theater, 110 S. 400 West in Salt Lake City.
Tickets are $7/$9 and right now, there's a duo deal where you can get tickets to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at The Leonardo with purchase of a membership at the planetarium.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The view from my window

It's been WAY too long since I cleaned the outside of my windows.
I know it and I admit it.
But yesterday when I officially took on the task, armed with a new, telescoping brush and squeegee tool, I was determined to make my windows shine.
I mixed up some soapy water and headed out, a woman on a mission.
I washed the sides I could reach, went back inside the house and slid the double-sides over so I could now clean the inner sides of our double-paned windows.
I went back inside to readjust and outside to wash some more.
I next realized I would have to take out the screens and keep sliding glass sections so I could wash all four? sides. The logistics involved gave me a headache but I was making a tiny bit of progress.
I waited for Marc to bring home a ladder and help me remove the screens before he reminded me that the screens lift out from the inside.
I removed a couple and then tried to get to the big ones in the living room and my office.
They absolutely refused to budge.
I pushed and pleaded and hurt my hands trying to get them to slide. They stubbornly stayed in place, except for the edges of the windows. Those were coming off.
I waited again for Marc.
He got it to move so I could wash some more glass.
Now we're trying to get the screens back in.
Over the years the little rubber tabs on them that are supposed to give you something to grab have come off.
We have one left on one screen, none on the others. It makes it challenging to work with them.
Marc tried to fit one of the bigger ones back in.
It wouldn't go.
He pushed, pulled.
He cussed and stomped.
He bent.
Here's the happy result:
I think we're going screen shopping.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking off in the Barbie jet

So I'm playing Barbies with one of my granddaughters.
The Barbies are getting ready for a trip so they're headed to the airport.
They have their hair fixed and they're all dressed up fancy the way Ellie likes them when she reaches for a wicker basket sitting on the cabinent.
"Here's their jet." she says rather wearily as she sighs and parks her dolls in the basket before it takes off.  "They don't have a real one."
I realize she's still thinking about the Barbie jet her cousins have, one Marc and I gave them one Christmas as a joint gift for three sisters.
She asked me for one last year and the year before that but I couldn't justify spending as much for one gift as we did for three at once.
And I couldn't explain it adequately.
I thought she'd forget.
But she hasn't, especially since her cousins have now moved back to Utah and everytime she visits she sees the jet they have and she doesn't.
I tried to forget about it.
But she trusts me and expects me to hear her.
When she didn't have any Ken dolls, I made sure she got some.
When she left her little sister Barbies at my house, I mailed them.
So I went on a journey to see if I could get her a jet...maybe the price had come down in the last three years.
It had a little but still not enough to make sense...
Now if I were buying it for two...
Hey, I realized her mom is due any day now with a baby sister so if I gave the jet to the two of them, that might work. I could do the same for another household with two little girls.
I convinced Marc and we went out to buy jets, paying full price but saving the shipping by buying in store and saving 5 percent with my new Redcard (See an earlier blog about that ordeal).
Then the Christmas catalog came with the jets on sale and $5 off coupons.
So I loaded up my jets and went back to the store to return them and buy them again for $22 less.
It was a bit of a hassle but the Target store people were nice. I only had to make two trips and show my receipt both times.
The pink plastic jets are now safely back downstairs awaiting wrapping and I can't wait to see Ellie's face.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blessings from Heaven

Babies are miraculous.
One day old
Not only do they remind us that life is precious and worth living but they are these tiny little packages of warmth and softness and need like nothing else.
They're amazing.
Our newest grandchild, Richard Cael Gardiner, is a little less than seven pounds in weight but everything in him and on him works.
He has ten fingers and ten tiny toes.
His little heart is beating away.
His little brain is working to make sense of this new world.
His little lips and ears and nose are all just tiny and remarkable.
Then he opens his eyes and there's a whole little person in there.
I never quite get over how God worked this out.
First of all, we all had to agree to be born into this world entirely dependent on another human being to feed us, warm us, change us and love us.
Secondly, we all start out without being able to communicate except through crying...a fairly dangerous plan since the crying can be upsetting.
And finally, we all come here without a clue, forgetting who we really are, where we came from and why we came.
That fact that we survive and thrive, in my mind, is a testament to a God who is in charge and who worked out a truly impressive plan.
It's not something that could have happened accidentally.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Knocking heads

Because we are no longer in the business of writing for a weekly newspaper, Marc and I attended a Meet the Candidates night voluntarily last evening.
We didn't have to be there to take notes or pictures or even to follow the issues for an editorial.
We simply realized we needed to at least meet the candidates for the mayoral and council seats.
It was illuminating.
It was also scary.
We came away with some real concerns.
The incumbent mayor is not a problem.
He's reasoned and rational and he's learned a lot in the four years he's been in office. He recognizes that city officials often have to make hard choices and color within the lines to get things done.
He's been a supporter for city services that don't make the city money like the rec center, the library and the Arts Council, services that return valuable, intangible rewards.
He's helped make sure American Fork has good, clean water for years to come.
But his opponent is quick to point out that American Fork is in debt and looking to take on more to fix the city's roads.
He harped on how the city ought to run itself like a small business and only pay for things as the money becomes available.
He mixed up his apples and oranges in big ways, advocating a push to attract and keep businesses without recognizing the need for a working infrastructure to go along with that push.
The council candidates were worrisome also.
There are three candidates running for two seats that are coming open.
In good conscience, I can only vote for the one who made sense, the one who'd been there.
The other two were all about the road bond and how terrible it is to take on more debt.
(I know, I know, there's a couple of sides to the road bond but it'll all be over before these guys even take office. They won't be in a position to repeal it.)
Marc and I watched and listened and realized that the new guys trying to come in are more than green. They have NO idea what they're talking about.
They seem to think all city money is the same and you can take money from this pot to that with no regard for legalities.
They seem to think problems will fix themselves if you just stand on principles.
It was all very frustrating and we both came away disconcerted.
Maybe it's time to jump in and run for office?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Boiling eggs and other delicacies

In our house, we share the cooking duties.
I make most of the lunch and evening meals and Marc cooks the eggs.
(He also mans the barbecue and the wok as well but this column is about eggs.)
He likes a hot breakfast with choices.
So since I was usually leaving before he was in the mornings, over the years we developed a routine.
He cooked breakfast and I ate it.
I always thought it was pretty much a convenience thing.
But the other day after I left him to make a potato salad with eggs I had boiled the day before, I discovered something.
I apparently can't boil eggs.
I had boiled four extra eggs for him thinking I was saving him some time and effort for the salad he was making to take to a work party.
Off I went to shop.
The next morning I was going about my business when I noticed eight eggshells in the garbage not four.
"Didn't you use the eggs I left you?" I asked him.
He kind of hemmed and hawed not wanting to make me mad.
"They were too soft," he finally admitted. "I made new ones."
I was confused. I had made them the same way I always did.
I put them in water, brought it to a boil and cooked them for five minutes...with a timer to remind me when time was up.
"Isn't that how you do them?" I quizzed in a righteous huff.
Marc looked at me sadly.
"They need 15 minutes minimum," he said, ready to duck my blows.
"Uh uh! I'm sure it's five. I know how to boil eggs."
I headed to the cookbook and sure enough. They suggested 15 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Five for soft-boiled.
For more than 40 years I've been doing it wrong and wondering why sometimes my eggs turned out runny when I needed them hard-boiled.
I always thought it might be the altitude.
Now I see it was more accurately my attitude.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do their marketing people know?

I usually just blow off the cheery cashier at Target who is trying to sell me a Redcard.
I let her finish her spiel about how much money it would save me to have a Redcard and how easy it is to apply and then I say, "No, thank you. I have enough cards to carry around."
But right now I'm trying to order something for Christmas from the Target website so I want a Redcard so I don't have to pay shipping costs.
I can also save 5 percent on the things I'm trying to order.
So I have been trying to sign up.
I waded through the online application and gave away semi-private, personal information so I could get a Red debit card.
I stressed a little over handing over access to our bank account but reminded myself about how often I shop at Target and convinced myself it would be fine.
The note on the application said "Take a seat and wait a bit while we see if your banking institution will allow this transaction."
I did that. I took a seat and waited.
Pretty soon I checked to see if a couple of small bits of money had been deposited and pulled back out of our account.
One transaction had been posted and retrieved.
So I went back to confirm and finish my application.
The Redcard people wanted evidence of two such transactions.
It wouldn't budge without two.
I waited some more and then decided, "Heck, I don't need it to be a debit card."
So I started over and tried to apply for a credit card instead.
It was almost instantly approved.
But, hold it.
Now I have to wait 7-10 days for it to come in the mail unless I want to start shopping now with a temporary account.
I tried to do that but the button saying I agree to their electronic messaging won't work.
I'm back to the Redcard square, waiting.
I'll give it a week and then, dang it, I'm going to complain to the cheery cashier.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Surviving supper

Feast for a king and queen
My husband and I have this pact with each other.
Every year at one of the General Conferences we will haul out our 72-hour kits and check our supplies.
The hope is that when we need our emergency food, it will be edible.
And we're getting a little better at it each year.
(The first year we did this, we found food that had expired 3-4 years earlier and dead, crumbly Pop-Tarts which I foolishly figured were like Twinkies in lasting power.)
This time around, the food was only about a year past expiration date and that's only if you took "Best by 2011" as a suggestion, not a hard deadline.
We decided to try a meal with our food to see if ... A. we liked what we had stored and B. if it was not nasty or spoiled.
We chose a night when we were in a hurry anyway so entrees that could be heated and eaten quickly were a plus.
We laid out our fare.
Hmmm. We had our choice of canned beef stew, canned beans, canned ravioli, canned chicken salad and canned applesauce. We had some chocolate milk that didn't require refrigeration. We had beef jerky and some instant potatoes.
None of it looked like the equivalent of a whole, balanced meal so we decided to open everything and have a taste-sampling party.
We learned some valuable lessons.
1. We need to put in a pair of little scissors so we can open packets.
2. We need to be careful getting the little tin lids off...and pack more Band-Aids.
3. We need access to a microwave.
4. We need to set aside an aversion to the smell of processed foods. (At least I do. Marc can eat anything. I'd rather starve than eat something that smells like Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.)
At the end of the meal, we decided on a particular brand of beef stew we liked MUCH more than the off-brand. We elected NOT to try the one where the bottom bulged. We enjoyed the chocolate milk.
We voted in favor of the applesauce and the noodles but we went away craving a fresh carrot and real green peas.
Now we have to replace what we opened and sort of ate and I'm thinking this next time, hmmm, maybe chocolate bars and Twinkies?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Love it or get out!

Years ago, Marc and I reviewed a play we didn't love at a theater in downtown Provo.
(The place has since gone out of business so it's safe to blog about what happened there, I think.)
We were invited to see this original production, something written by the guy who owned the place, always a little worrisome because when the writer is the director who is also the lead actor, there's some ego involved.
We, however, went in with open minds and willing hearts.
We gave up an evening of our lives to visit the place and see the show.
But we didn't like it much and I said so later in my review. I also offered some suggestions on how they might save the show; cut some songs, shorten some scenes, pick up the pace...
I remember apologizing for not liking it because contrary to popular belief, most drama critics, including me, feel badly when a production lacks.
We like theater. We like music. We like snappy dialogue and good plots. We like to see these kind of enterprises succeed.
I've actually yet to meet a drama critic who hates theater. Why go if you're going to be miserable every time? (And, in my case, why do it for more than 35 years?)
So I was taken aback when the owner of the theater reacted with serious heat.
He sent me and my editors emails accusing me (and my husband) of coming to the show intent on hating it.
He said he had us "on video" talking about our plans to sabotage the production and hasten the demise of good theater in Utah Valley.
He told me I had a serious problem and should get a new career that didn't involve reviewing plays.
He said if I was having a bad hair day that rather than come to a production I should stay away.
It was vitriolic and unfair.
I remember at the time feeling some serious indignation.
And now, decades later, I still think about that incident, especially when I review something that for one reason or another, warrants a negative report.
I know a bad review hurts sales. I know people don't like criticism.
I am aware that my opinion is not the only one that matters.
But I feel a real obligation to be honest.
Would people honestly prefer we sugar coat what is?
Would reviews then matter?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Renaissance Freeze

A tiny knight on the zipline
Let me, first of all, be perfectly clear.
We enjoyed The Utah Valley Renaissance Faire held at Thanksgiving Point's Electric Park this past weekend.
It was very much like a visit back to England to Warwick Castle with knights and beautiful ladies all about.
We enjoyed the Joust with the Knights of Mayhem breaking their jousting lances on each other's armour.
We liked the little tots who did tricks on the backs of the equestrian vaulting horses.
We liked the magic, the belly dancers, the smell of Shepherd's Pie in the air, our visit with William Shakespeare on the walk.
We laughed at the little kids dressed up as royal ladies, fairies and tiny knights in shining helmets and shields.
Everywhere there were people who took this event very seriously.
They were in cloaks and gowns and boots and carried swords and daggers and pelts.
We learned about carving wood, throwing pots and working leather.
It was intoxicating and a visit to a different time and place.
But on Friday night, we misjudged what the weather was going to be like.
Sure, it had rained hard during the morning and early afternoon but after the sun came out we figured we were fine to pop over to check out the goings-on and attend the Medieval Feast.
After all, we had complimentary tickets from the Faire's organizer and didn't want to waste them.
At the last minute, I kicked off my socks and shoes in favor of my new flip-flops.
I reasoned that I'd be walking a lot and they are more comfortable.
Big mistake.
I knew it when my feet got all wet walking out to watch the Joust in the damp grass.
My toes were very cold by the time we finished and headed for the Feast which I thought would be in the Show Barn.
It wasn't.
It was outside, at night, in a tent, without heaters.
I had basically bare feet. Neither Marc or I had worn clothing designed for 40-degree weather.
The food — while hot and tasty — came slowly while the temperature dropped rapidly.
It was miserable and, by the end, we were frozen solid. (Only the teen-age girls seated by us in thin Renaissance gowns and light wraps were colder.)
But it won't keep us from going again next year. We'll just dress more appropriately.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Up a tree

Adell in heaven
I always sort of assumed trees took care of themselves.
Of course I knew when we planted the trees in our yard that we had to be careful during the transplanting.
I knew we needed to water them regularly and keep the kids from climbing them before they were big enough to handle such attention.
So it has taken a while for Marc and I to wake up and realize they need professional attention and financial investment on a regular basis.
I started into the tree stuff after we got a little coupon in the mail for a discount on tree trimming. Since people had started to stop by and ask us why we weren't joyously harvesting the cherries the tree produced each year, we felt it was time to take some responsibility.
I called for an estimate.
The man came by and looked over two of our oldest trees, the cherry on the side and the big cottonwood that is towering over the house in the backyard.
Marc is happy that the cottonwood is growing so large and producing so much nice shade.
He didn't want any changes.
But the tree trimmer guy said we needed to take out a big front section unless we wanted it to fall on our house one day soon.
He said the cherry would be easy to thin out and suggested we raise the skirt a couple of feet.
He handed us an estimate for about $800.
That was about $500 more than my best guess.
My sister-in-law suggested we check with a guy she uses for her trees.
His numbers were way better and so far we've been impressed with his work...though I couldn't watch while he whittled away at the cottonwood. It was like watching your child get his shots.
He and his helpers took out branches, deadwood and gave new shape and direction to both trees.
They made trees out of one that looked mostly like a big bush and called back the other that looked like it was out of control and reaching for the sky.
The only problem now is we've been told the cottonwood needs something called "cabling" to keep the tree from failure in the future.
We don't know yet how much that will cost.
We have a call in to an expert.
Meanwhile I'm sitting back and thinking.
Who knew that tree trims should be planned into the family budget?
I didn't. I thought God took care of trees.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Driving crazy

As I tell others about our week in Bear Lake, I'm starting to notice a pattern to the patter.
We had a lot of tough driving experiences this time around.
I've already blogged about the ride on the RZRs into the wilderness.
As I've talked to others I've found that the untrained, innocent ought to think a little before jumping on an ATV without any preparation.
In addition, we had quite the adventure coming back to Garden City from Smithfield...after we finally arrived late for dinner (which we were bringing).
We thought it would be fun to pop over to Smithfield for a game night since we were only — I thought — about a half an hour away.
We love games.
Marc's daughter Erin and her husband Brian love games.
We could have dinner, play games and see some grandkids all in one shot.
We headed out a little after 3 p.m., me thinking we were on schedule and thinking Marc knew what he was doing when he suggested we go by way of Preston and Emigration Canyon.
At 4:15 he called Erin to say we were just getting going.
At 4:45, I realized this was no short trip.
At 5:30, we rolled into Smithfield.
I was fretting and unhappy with thick pork chops still to cook.
Then around 10:00 we left for "home."
It was raining and stormy and we were worried about hitting deer in the canyon. (This time we were going through Logan Canyon since our shortcut hadn't worked very well.)
Thunder clapped. Lightning flashed and our wipers worked hard to keep ahead of the raindrops.
Steam rose from the road and obscured our view. Clouds rolled in.
(Fortunately the deer seemed to have the good sense to stay in their thickets and off the road so no problem there.)
So by the time we came off the hill into Garden City, I was once again white knuckling and bracing for a run off the road.
We made it and to Marc's credit, we didn't die.
But I'm really ready for a nice quiet journey in heavy traffic down I-15. These road trips are killing me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

God sent us a couple of cowboys

We found ourselves with a few free days after the grandkids and their parents packed up and left Bear Lake.
We had already spent the weekend splashing and ski-dooing on the deep blue lake water and collected a fair amount of sun.
Now here we were, two grandparents with time on our hands.
We decided to each pick something we wanted to do that we hadn't done before.
I picked out horseback riding but the lady we called in Laketown didn't have a ride time before Wednesday so it became Marc's turn.
He chose off-road riding.
We found a little shop that was still open. (It is off-season now in Bear Lake.)
They had a sweet red and black ATV with no windshield and high clearance and sturdy tires.
The teenager in charge handed us helmets and goggles. He showed us how to make the driver's door stay closed with a velcro strap. He explained how we ought to go and suggested we avoid hitting big rocks at 40 miles an hour.
Then he handed Marc a map and we were off!
(This is after we signed legal documents saying we wouldn't sue or come back from the dead to complain if we died doing this.)
We headed up a rugged but simple trail towards the mountain top with instructions about turning left, going for a while and connecting with Hodges' Canyon after we found the underpass in the forest.
Marc manned the wheel. I manned my side, clutching my "steering wheel" tightly even while I understood it had absolutely no effect on our outcome. I stuck my feet firmly to the floor.
At first it was glorious. The air was clear. The sky was blue. The road was pretty straightforward and you could see dirt between the rocks.
It wasn't until after a while that it became terrifying.
There were places with big washes where Marc had to decide whether to try and straddle the ruts or climb the boulders. The choices were mostly between big rocks and bigger rocks.
We struggled along thinking we were pretty good at this. We scared away cows and deer and the occasional chipmunk.
Our sweet ride
We found the under-the-road tunnel. We gunned the engine.
Then we found ourselves on a decent gravel Forest Service road that was easy but we seemed to be going to Wyoming. After a fair time, we realized we'd missed something.
We tried to check the map.
Marc couldn't find it.
And he couldn't remember the name of the turn-off.
Oh dear. We were going to die for sure.
We headed back the way we came but now the novelty had worn off and I was worried.
We tried a turn-off called Richardson Fork.
Oh boy!
There were more rocks and ruts and less dirt and trail than one could imagine. We chased a cow into the brush and ended up in a pasture with him and his bovine friends.
We were two hours into our two-hour ride with no clue as to how to get back. We had no
cell-phone service as well as no matches, food, flashlights or warm clothing.
I was getting a little upset as I tend to do when I can't see any future for us.
So Marc said a prayer asking that we find our way home safely and that he/we could make good decisions.
We started again and promptly came to a fork. He suggested going right. I said left back the way we came through Hell.
Then remembering the prayer, I decided to trust him.
We went right and 10 feet up the trail a herd of white-faced cows blocked our way. Two cowboys were rustling them up. They regarded us with amusement -- two senior citizens in an ATV, obviously lost.
"Can we get out this way?" Marc asked.
"Yeah," said the talkative cowboy nearest to us as he parted the cows.
We motored noisily on, relieved that we had some clear direction but still battling the worst road I had ever seen.
I now understand how people upset their ATVs, how they get seriously injured and the exhilaration that's very much like riding a really scary roller-coaster.
Marc was laughing. I was trying to image how much more difficult a difficult path could be. The one we were on was supposed to be easy to moderate.
And, actually when we did get back to the rental shop, the kid admitted that Richardson Fork can be one of the more tricky ones particularly after a good rainstorm.
"I wouldn't recommend it," he said.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Big Bird

We've tried for a while now to discourage what I call the welfare pigeons from raiding our bird feeder.
We don't mind buying $25-$30 worth of black oil sunflower seeds a month for the cute little finches and the occasional scrub jay.
But we really don't like the big, lumpy pigeons that consistently topple the feeder and the birdbath and overtake our little bird world.
Sometimes there are dozens lining the top of the fence out there.
They hustle in and push away the cute ones.
They scatter the seed.
They make a mess, leaving feathers in their wake and other personal debris.
We've tried scolding them and scowling out the window.
We've bought smaller feeders but they hang onto the edge of whatever bird feeder we own and flap around trying to maintain purchase.
They have no shame.
And if we stop putting out food for them, the dozens of acceptable birds would have to go without as well.
And we really enjoy having a lot of chirping and fluttering going on in our back yard.
So we endure.
But I'm seeking a solution still.
Any ideas?
(I've threatened to put up a "No pigeons. Keep out!" sign but I think they're too dumb to read.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Not in the cards

It's been a hard past week as far as card-carrying goes.
First, my daughter got a call from her bank telling her it appeared there were fraudulent charges on her credit card.
The caller said there were three charges that looked funny on her account and her card was being frozen.
I felt bad for her.
It's always such a pain to change over all of your online accounts and auto pay bills.
We tried to think of where we'd shopped that was shady when we went out for our Tuesday night mother/daughter adventures.
The next day I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting to check out when the cashier handed me back my Visa card.
"Do you have another card?" she asked me. "That one isn't working."
Taken aback, I tried the card again.
"I know I have money in my account," I said, realizing that sounded lame to all the people backing up in the line behind me.
"Nope. It isn't working," confirmed the cashier after a second try.
"Does it tell you why?" I asked.
She flipped the screen around to show me where it said, "Card declined!"
"No, this is all it will tell us," she said. "Do you have another card?"
Embarrassed, I handed her my American Express for my $6 purchase.
As soon as I was finished, I called the credit union from the store.
"Yeah," said the guy who answered the phone. "Unless you ordered something from Digital River for $175.31, it looks like a fraudulent charge. You'll need to come in an get a new card."
I headed down to the bank and handed over my card for shredding and got a shiny new card.
Then I went to put gas in my car in a bit of a hurry. I was late now.
The card wouldn't work. I was ticked. It's always worked before.
Since the station is changing owners, I thought maybe my card wasn't going to be good there anymore.
So I headed inside to pay the live teller, getting in line behind a dozen or so people getting candy and drinks.
"Oh, we've had a little trouble," the teller said gaily when I reached the front of the line. "But it should work from now on."
Then I came home to try and pay my new Scheel's card bill online.
I tried and failed. I tried again and called support. They said it's in Marc's name so I should use his personal information. I focused and tried it in Marc's name. I still failed. I tried phoning for help again. The guy said I could pay it by phone for a $15 fee.
Maybe I'll just throw it out the window.
Obviously, this is not my week for working with plastic and wires...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rocky Mountain Express

I could say the most remarkable thing about the new IMAX movie showing at the Clark Planetarium is that Marc stayed awake for the whole thing.
(He has this habit where he starts to yawn and relax when he sees a dark theater or a church pew.)
But the movie is so remarkable that it wouldn't be fair to knock it for a cheap laugh.
It's the story of the Canadian Pacific Transcontinental railroad built in the late 1800's and early 1900's across mountains and rivers and through solid granite.
The cinematography is spectacular and the music is gorgeous and somehow the filmmaker Stephen Low tells this dramatic and haunting story in 45 minutes.
The footage follows steam engine 2816, rebuilt for the occasion, as it moves on track laid across Canada with hand labor and black powder.
In some sections, only five feet of track was laid each day while an average of six men died for each finished mile of track.
At one time, 10,000 men were working on the tracks in their wagons precariously parked on the snowy granite mountainside.
The work was laborious, impossible and I'm not sure that it would be attempted today.
Crazy people were in charge and seemed determined to finish at whatever the cost in human life and cash.
Tunnels, 5-mile, 9-mile and 15-mile tunnels, were carved through the mountains.
Spiral tracks took the trains off the steeply pitched route for some of the time, making it possible to navigate.
The big, powerhouse steam engines chugged across bridges supported by mile-high trestles and stone pillars.
Avalanches, rock slides and the treacherous Selkirk and Rocky Mountains stood in the way.
Winter brought incredible amounts of snow and ice.
People died to make this enterprise exist.
Some engines derailed.
One blew up.
Most of them, though, plugged along steadily for hundreds of miles, opening up the West, creating tourism and connecting the country.
It makes for a brilliant, absorbing film that is very much like taking an actual ride on the train.
There's a sense of destiny, power and adventure in every turn of the wheel.
Plunging into dark tunnels and around the bends is exhilarating.
The show plays every day for a while at the planetarium and, right now, there's open seating until people figure out this is something there to see.
Climb aboard.
(You can see a trailer for it at:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Enjoying the moment

I wasn't going to talk much online about my recent surgery but I'm breaking my own rule because I can and because this stranger lady has got me going.
I was at a play.
It had been about a week since the surgery so I was feeling pretty proud of myself for being out and about.
But I was still being careful so I didn't leave the area of my seat for an intermission treat.
I stood up to let Marc go get us something chocolate.
As he tried to get by the people next to me, the lady chirped "Marc! How are you?"
I looked at Marc's face.
Clearly he had no idea who this person was.
He looked panicked.
"Uh, hi!!!" He said, rather forcefully. "How are you!!"
The lady proceeded to tell him her name and introduce her husband and talked as if she knew both of us from way back.
I desperately searched my memory banks. Were these people in our ward? Had either of us interviewed them for a story? Did their kids know our kids?
Marc kind of murmured something polite and slipped on by, leaving me to chat.
I stumbled around trying to find something to say besides, "Who the heck are you?"
I asked if they still lived in American Fork.
"Of course, we haven't moved," she said, kind of condescendingly.
I asked they were in the same ward.
She again at me kind of curiously and said, "Sure, are you?"
She then told me she's into Holistic Medicine and letting the body tell you what's good and bad for you. She told me how much money she makes helping people avoid surgery and pills.
She was making me very self-conscious.
Marc came back and tried to help out.
"Sharon's here after just having her gall bladder out last week," he interjected. "Isn't she doing great?"
I was slightly aghast at his announcement and concentrated on ripping open my peanut butter cup, nodding all the while.
The lady looked at me sympathetically and at my candy.
"Oh," she said. "And they let you eat that?"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Read all about it

In the olden days, Marc and I knew who to vote for.
We'd either written stories about the various candidates that told us and others about them in a few tight paragraphs or we'd learned about their antics from City Council meetings, legal proceedings or business forays.
We kind of took it for granted that when voting day rolled around, we'd be in the loop.
(Marc was the editor of the weekly paper and I was an intrepid reporter.)
Now we're clueless.
We're voting uninformed.
We searched the papers and the news broadcasts for mention of the candidates running in American Fork.
We found little.
The only one we knew anything about was the mayor and he gets our vote because he came down and let us take a picture of him for the "Geek the Library" campaign.
But the people running for City Council are unknowns.
We don't know who or what we're voting for.
I called up a friend of mine who's been serving on the council and she said she wasn't voting for any of them but one.
"They haven't earned my vote. They haven't even campaigned," she said.
That explains some of the mystery.
It isn't just me or Marc who is in the dark.
Apparently it isn't worth it to spend much money before the primary election.
So I only voted for the one guy because I figured there's someone out there who knows why and who he's voting for and I didn't want to cancel out a valid vote.
But I've spent the day mourning — once again — the loss of the Citizen and its input.
The pesky election stories that we all complained about writing served a purpose.
People now have to function without good information.
I realize anew...that when you lose a community newspaper, you lose big time.
We all do.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Smokin' it

I realize people who smoke deserve a place in this world.
I understand that most smokers are good, decent folks and I know I have no right to judge them, harass them or deny them a good time.
But I'm frequently happy to live in an age where it's recognized that smoke, including secondary smoke, is bad for your lungs.
I'm glad there are clean air laws.
Had they been in place years earlier, perhaps my mother would still be alive. (She died of lung cancer though she never smoked. She did ride a smoke-filled bus on her commute to work for years.)
I'm somewhat sensitive to the habit.
So when my daughter and I found a group of smokers having a party just outside our Bed & Breakfast in Cedar City, we were annoyed.
They were in patio chairs right outside the rooms, puffing away on cigars and cigarettes as we left for our show at the Shakespearean Festival.
They were there when we came back a couple of hours later to change and there when we left to go to dinner an hour or so after that.
It was dismaying and even though one gallant guy jumped up, cigarette in hand, to open the patio door for us, we were unhappy.
My daughter is seven months pregnant and really doesn't want to inhale secondary smoke for her baby.
I just hate it and since the party people had now propped the patio door open, the fumes were coming into the common living room next to our bedrooms.
I was pretty sure the Bed & Breakfast billed itself as a no-smoking establishment so I decided to complain.
I called the manager from dinner and told him I thought it might be a problem.
To his credit, he reacted quickly and apologized profusely.
That night when my daughter and I returned to our room, we were met with hostility but no smoke.
The next morning, a couple of people outright glared at us at breakfast.
I don't think we're going to win the popularity contest.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Drinking up

I know I have a couple of diagnostic tests coming up that won't be any fun.
But the one I went to undergo a couple of days ago was supposed to be fairly simple.
I told my husband I would just be going in, giving a little blood and drinking some kind of solution with iodine in it before this machine looked me over.
I'd be home in 20 minutes or so after my appointment.
When the nice lady came out bearing two big bottles of some kind of "Berry-flavored" concoction I realized perhaps I was mistaken.
"It's OK," she said, noticing the look on my disappointed face. "It really isn't so bad. You just drink a couple of cups of each bottle and you're done. You don't even have to drink it all."
Then she stopped, looked at the bottles and at her paperwork.
"Oh, wait," she said. "Wait. I don't think this is right."
She handed me the bottles and the paper cup and told me to sit tight.
She'd be right back.
I looked at what she'd given me. They were nice and cold and the task looked doable.
I waited a while.
When she returned, she was smiling.
"I was right." she said cheerfully. "You don't have to drink these."
Hope leapt in my heart.
For one brief shining moment, I thought I was saved.
That was before she said,  "You need to drink these instead!"
And she handed me three bottles instead of two of some kind of barium sulphate suspended solution.
Not Berry-flavored. Not delicious.
Not good.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Keeping it clean

Marc missed a meeting one Sunday.
And apparently when you miss a meeting, you get the plum assignment.
He came home a bit ago to tell me one we were signed up to chaperone the next multi-stake singles dance.
We were to show up at the local college's ballroom on a Friday night and stick around for three hours.
Our job: keep the singles from getting too close to each other on the dance floor or from drifting away down dark corridors.
I thought it was kind of strange to be asked to monitor the behavior of grown singles.
These people were all at least 31 and older.
Some appeared to be elderly.
They know the rules and if they choose to ignore them, they have their own cars and apartments. They can just go somewhere.
So I didn't really see the point in having to hang around watching them like hawks.
But we did.
We tried to do our civic duty.
We nibbled at the refreshments and walked about.
Since Marc and I aren't really a dancing couple, we sat on the sidelines a lot and chatted.
We watched people who could dance dance well.
We watched people who couldn't dance move around some. We picked out some interesting characters. (One old guy never moved a facial muscle or spoke as he wildly whirled one hapless lady after another around the dance floor. Maybe we should have saved those women.)
We even saw some rather snug dancing but I wasn't about to go up to anyone and say, "Hey! We need to see a foot of space between the two of you!"
(If we really had a problem with anybody, we were supposed to get another chaperoning couple and approach the offenders together.)
It seemed a bit of a pointless exercise, especially since there were about 10 of us in best dress and suits attempting to chaperone. We were like the Dance Police.
Our presence kept the crowd in control which I know is mostly the point.
But it was a very long night. There were lots of things I'd rather have done with my Friday night.
And from here on out, I'll make sure Marc doesn't miss any more meetings.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The wedding party

Is this what I signed up for? Ring bearer in rear.

Here's a pop quiz.
What does the song Elvira, yodeling, an angry young ring bearer, bubbles, hand fans, rain, Enya and a familiar LDS hymn have in common?
The answer: a wedding in Iowa on a Monday morning.
There was also some heat and humidity, a pretty bride, a handsome groom, plenty of quiche and wedding cake.
It was a unique wedding, planned mostly by the young bride with her artistic mother's help.
The wedding invitations were hand-painted.
The decorations were created at home.
The music, including the wedding march, "Elvira!" and the accompaniment to "God Is Love" was played on a CD player, a couple of smart phones and the rock band equipment including high-powered amps and a keyboard owned by the father of the bride.
The bridal party
The yodeler was a family friend trying to kill time. The ring bearer provided comic relief because he did not want to be in the spotlight. The hand fans provided on each of the seats were a salvation. The rain kept us guessing as to whether there would be a wedding at all.
The familiar LDS hymn was one none of the Mormon guests knew so Marc and I sort of led out to encourage the audience...
"Elvira!" was at the bride's request. (Her dad is an off-beat drummer kind of guy.)
The combination of old and new, traditional and off-beat, was most interesting as we wished on wedding pebbles, watched two adorable flower girls throw rose petals, hoped an unhappy lad would successfully deliver the rings to the groom and played endless croquet waiting for the bride and groom to finish getting their pictures taken.
Here in the West, especially in Mormondom, we get pretty used to wedding receptions in the church cultural hall with air conditioning and plenty of space.
From Russia with love
This ceremony and the reception was in the park and in the park's pavilion.
It was crazy and sweet and hot and lovely.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Parading around....

Who's that lady?
I love a parade.
I like the little kids waving from atop a float made of shiny fringe and colorful crepe paper.
I like sitting on the curb helping the grandkids hustle for candy.
I enjoy seeing the bands go by and stopping to play a tune.
It's always been a tradition for Marc and I to bike on down from our house to the band breakfast and stick around to watch the parade from somewhere in front of what used to be "The Citizen" building.
Over the years we've had to adjust our tradition a little here and there because the Citizen was sold, our jobs changed and we had less and less justification for taking up space in the same place.
But we've hung on, often harking back to the time when Marc was up late putting together parade programs and the mayor and city council people had become personal friends because we covered their election campaigns and public foibles.
So usually I look forward to the mammoth parade on Steel Days Saturday.
This year I worried about it.
Since I am on the American Fork City Library Board and since we are in the midst of an awareness campaign with which I've been helping, I was expected to march — or at least amble — in the parade.
I was to show up at 8 a.m. in the ready area, wearing my black Geek T-shirt and walk the 1.5 mile parade with the other "Geek The Library" supporters.
I resisted as long as I decently could, telling myself, Marc and my library friends that I was too old, it was too hot and I'd feel too silly.
I bargained that it would be a danger to my health to walk that far in this heat.
I told myself I wouldn't do it if I had to walk.
All the while I was buying candy "just in case."
In my mind, there are few sights sadder than a wee child who doesn't get to the candy in the road fast enough.
I determined that "if" I was actually in the parade, I would seek out the woebegone children and personally hand them a treat.
I bought more candy even though I was still telling Marc I wasn't doing this. I now had 7 lbs.
Eventually, Saturday morning came and I ended up in the parade (surprise!), handing out my candy and Geek bookmarks and coupons. I wore a hat, cut the neck of my T-shirt for comfort and packed a thermos with ice.
It was the right thing to do. I didn't suffer any weather-related consequences and I felt pretty good about it after the fact.
I did run out of candy though. That part was hard, marching on by sugar-seeking children with nothing to offer.
Perhaps I should've decided I wasn't going to do this sooner. And if I "never" do this again, I'll bring more.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ticked off!

We traveled to my brother's place in Iowa this past weekend for his daughter's wedding.
Since the bride is his only daughter and they have come to Utah several times to see us, it only seemed fair that we all (my other two brothers and I) truck on out to the cornfields to visit them for this great occasion.
We all met up Sunday for church and a backyard pizza picnic in hot and humid Iowa.
Bryan has five acres of land in Fairfield, most of it wild and growing free — just like he likes it.
So we were outside visiting and eating after we'd all hiked down to his pond at the back of the property and through the various meadows and green space he and Patty have.
I sat in a wooden chair eating my pizza and watermelon and didn't really think too much about the two cans of Deet Bug Spray sitting on the table next to me.
I didn't notice many mosquitoes so I didn't apply any spray.
I was comfortable and blissfully unaware, apparently, that Iowa is currently seeing an uptick in the local tick population.
I stood up to talk to my older brother when my younger brother reached over to flick a tiny black creature off his shirt sleeve.
"What's that?" I asked.
"It's a tick. They're all over here," Darrell said. "You'll want to check yourself when you leave. They're bad news."
I shuddered.
I'd only been worrying about snakes and spiders as Bryan's yard includes a lot of area that would provide great cover and refuge for such creatures.
Ticks were a whole 'nother story.
Growing up, I'd heard about them on the occasional camp-out. I knew something about needing to poke them with a hot match if they climbed on and dug into your skin.
I knew they were carriers of dread disease.
But it wasn't until the next morning that I noticed this creepy black thing stuck onto the back of my hip. It had little waving legs and a horrid personality.
I screeched.
Marc looked at it and grabbed his laptop to look up solutions.
I screeched some more. "Get it off me!" I ordered.
Marc was busily searching the Internet while I tried not to grab at it.
"Do you have any tweezers? It says to pick it off with tweezers," Marc told me.
I picked up my makeup bag and pulled out a set of toenail clippers. Close enough.
I locked them around the tick's head and plucked him off. (What I did with him after that I don't know. I think I tossed him into the toilet or the sink.)
So he's gone with only a tiny speck of blood left.
He's gone but the nightmares remain. I haven't stopped checking for more since: in my hair, between my toes, on Marc.
I mostly hope I didn't bring any home to Utah with me.
The only good thing is, if I start showing symptoms of Lyme Disease, I'll know exactly where I picked it up.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The key is...

Yesterday I ran up to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple to get some family cards printed off for Marc.
I had just a few minutes in my crazy day to do this for him and I thought I was so efficient to remember to dress for the temple, take my recommend and the necessary papers.
In fact, I was so efficient I just grabbed the papers and my recommend to take in, leaving my bag and phone in the car.
(I've heard the stories about people leaving cell phones in the temple lockers, cell phones that start ringing and don't stop for anything.)
So I slammed the car door just as I realized: "Wait, my keys are in my purse."
There I stood.
It was hot. It was the middle of the day. I could see my purse but I couldn't get to my purse.
Marc wasn't around. He had ridden his bike to work so he couldn't help me out unless he came all the way back from Orem to our house and collected his keys from the house and rode up to open my car.
I decided to go on in and get my cards printed while I tried to work out what I could do.
I could walk home and get Marc's keys but it's kind of a long ways.
I also realized I may not be able to get into the house without the garage door opener that was presently locked inside my Mazda. We had recently taken extra security precautions after I had locked myself out only to get in via the French doors.
I could call somebody but my phone was in my unavailable purse.
I stood at the counter in the temple thinking.
Finally, I asked the lady making cards if I could use the phone.
She looked at me kind of unhappily.
"I don't know. I'm just here as a fill-in so I don't know if I should do that," she said. Apparently I looked untrustworthy.
I waited until a supervisor came by who said, "Oh, of course. Go ahead and let her make a call."
The lady still regarded me suspiciously and asked me what number she should dial for me.
I reached Marc who had no real solutions. I was tying up the temple's phone so I decided to start walking.
In the meantime...Marc called a neighbor who sent her son to collect me and he called my daughter to help but without my phone I didn't know that.
I then saw a ward member coming out the door and begged a ride home.
Fortunately, I could still get in via the French doors and get not only keys but another car so I could drive up and get my purse out of my Mazda. I called off my daughter and my neighbor and took up keys to hide in Marc's car so he could stop on his way home and get it. (That meant leaving his car unlocked with keys inside for the afternoon but it was parked at the temple.)
Eventually we got both cars back home and all is well. But it drives home the adage, "No good deed goes unpunished" and "Don't ever let go of your purse."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No traction in this game

Marc and I love games.
Just ask our kids and friends.
We'll pull out a game at the drop of a hat and if you'll stay long enough, we're happy to play two or three.
As proof, we can open our closet where we have games from floor to ceiling or show you the downstairs shelves piled up with the ones that don't fit in the closet.
We love the Catan games, the Thurn & Taxis games, Scrabble games, Carcassone and Pit.
But we don't like dumb games.
"Candyland" and "Chutes and Ladders" are only good for getting young grandkids into the habit of playing games, as far as we can see.
Games that rely on dice for battles and domination drive me a little crazy. Games that don't allow for strategic thinking drive Marc nuts.
But, for the most part, we just sit back and enjoy a game with little fuss (Actually our sportsmanship and poor loser skills requires a whole 'nother blog.)
So when I got this game in the mail to review, we were interested.
It was advertised as a game all bikers would love.
The glowing endorsement on the box said everyone who biked or ever had any intention of biking would love this game, "a must-have," said the box.
The Debutante
We opened it up and looked at the little cardboard bicycles that are supposed to be the playing pieces.
We laid out the game board.
We picked out our bikes. Mine was a Schwinn Debutante. His was a Schwinn Tigress.
We rolled the big, heavy die and headed down the path.
I landed on a red circle which meant I didn't do anything.
Marc kept landing on yellow circles which meant he either got a Fun Fact to read or a question to answer.
The Presta valve
Fun Facts were boring bits of semi-technical information: "The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame was founded in 1986 in Somerville, NJ, home of the oldest bicycle race in America — the Tour of Somerville. It is now located in Davis, California."
Questions were yes and no, true or false about things like: "True or False: Many people put a flag on their bike as another safety feature." Or, "True or False: There are many people that ride their bikes in all kinds of weather."
One of my favorites: "Which valve in the Presta valve? Or "Is this a mountain bike or a tricycle?" (See the picture above.)
The Tigress
Now my question is what do we do with this game? Toss it, throw it, give it away? Who do we really dislike around here? Any white elephant parties coming our way?