Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sounding off

The new sound bar, etc., etc.
My husband mentioned he wanted a sound bar for his birthday which isn't for a month.
Then he mentioned it again and yet again.
He started showing me the sound bars here and there. My daughter and her husband had one. He dragged me to their house to listen so I could hear the difference.
Best Buy had some.
Even Wal-Mart had some.
Now we have one.
I quit fighting but I was envisioning a trim, little 1-inch piece that would tuck in between the TV and the TV cupboard, something inconspicuous.
The many
What I didn't expect was a big, boxy sub-woofer that pushed out my beloved stereo, two speakers: one on either side of the TV and of great attraction to the small grandchildren: a flat little box that had to go on top of the Blue-Ray player and yet another remote control.
We already have way more remotes than I can handle.
This makes five.
And I wouldn't even mind that so much if I could figure out and memorize the sequence of operation.
There's one to turn on the speakers.
There's one to run the volume but it can't be the one that controls volume for the TV. That needs to be competely off.
There's one to bring in the Satellite signal, another to fire up the monitor.
And there's a dusty old thing that hangs around for no reason. I just don't dare toss it out.
When the sound bar is working, I'll admit the sound is lovely and rich. I appreciate it.
But when Marc is gone and I'm left to myself to sort through the devices, I get a little frustrated.
Invariably I miss a step.
"Here, you just do this," Marc will say, pushing a button I hadn't noticed before on the newest remote.
When nothing happens, he grabs another. "Oh, I forgot you have to do this!"
Then he picks up a third. "You'll want to have this on as well or it won't come through."
He pushes and prods through the assortment until we have great, throbbing, sound on every side.
"It's really simple. You'll get it! You'll love it."
I can't wait.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Giggle, giggle

Justice creating
Hannah painting a rock

Blob tag; Ellie, Hannah, Malia, Marc & Kyle

So I'm laying there in my sleeping bag at about 10 p.m., trying to convince myself I can sleep in a tent on the ground when I realize I'm surrounded by an ocean of giggles.
The five little girls sharing my tent were all giggling.
The two little girls and the little boy in the other tent were giggling.
It was magical and marvelous and we probably kept the whole neighborhood around us awake, especially when they started telling each other to go to sleep.
You could hear their mothers in their scoldings.
"You're seriously giving me a headache!"
"Be quiet and stop talking about being quiet!"
"Go to sleep right now. I mean it!'
"I'm so going to have a headache."
Meanwhile we pretended the traffic on the road beyond our fence sounded like a raging river and the wind flapping the tent fabric was a forest breeze.
I laid there thinking what a joy it was to listen to eight small grandchildren fuss mildly at each other with no worries about bad guys or bears or monsters.
Adell listening
The Great Purple Ape at large
We were having a great Grandma/Grandpa camp-out in the backyard: cooking hot dogs over the portable fire pit (sharp sticks UP!), racing around in a hopeless game of Freeze Tag (nobody ever stayed frozen), finding a treasure chest filled with chocolate and graham crackers so we could make S'mores with our roasted (in some cases blackened and crisped) marshmellows, playing Flashlight Winker with our new $1 flashlights.
Malia can't believe her ears
We told stories...some short, some long and some way longer. "And then..," said Hannah every time she paused.
Ellie absorbing
We listened and jumped to Grandpa's Great Purple Ape gets longer with every telling.
We went on a mighty bear hunt even though I couldn't keep the sequence of obstacles straight.
We painted rocks and made constellation charts and basically celebrated being healthy and free and together.
After a while the giggling slowed down and the only sound was the wind and somebody's grandpa snoring.
It was hectic and fun and a lot of work.
It was a great night and as soon as I recover, it'll be a totally priceless memory.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who needs a helmet?

I've been fighting my husband for a while about wearing a helmet when I bike or ski. (Since I don't ski anymore it's not a problem on the mountain but I still bike on a regular basis.)
I don't like the way it smashes down my hair.
It makes me hot.
I miss the wind.
And I'm not sure mine goes with my outfit.
So I've been hit and miss with it, wearing it sometimes so as to set a proper example for my grandkids, "forgetting it" other times unless I'm planning to wreck.
And I've been curious about the little kids riding in the bike trailers who had helmets on.
Why would they need them if they are just riding along in the back? I wondered. They wouldn't be going anyplace outside of the trailer, aren't they pretty safe in their tiny tents?
Then we saw this guy struggling up the hill on the Cedar Hills road with a kid on a tandem bike behind him and a trailer with two small children inside behind that.
The hill was steep and he wasn't a big or strong-looking guy.
He looked like he was going to lose the battle at any moment and everybody would go backwards in a rush without wishing to do so.
I started to see why the trailer passengers would want to be wearing helmets.
Then my daughter called me to tell me about a family biking accident.
Seems they were headed downhill at a stretch near their home that's pretty steep and tricky.
The trailer wheels locked.
The trailer flipped.
The girls inside were turned upside down and hurt.
One got a black eye and the other suffered a painful case of road rash.
It could have been very serious.
As it was, they were lucky and all of us were surprised that it could happen so quickly and so easily.
Maybe helmets for trailer riders are a good idea.
Maybe I'll start wearing mine every time.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A really hot show

You'd think living in Utah for the past 40 or so years, I'd be prepared for the heat and the cold.
Greaseball the diesel engine guy
But it surprised me a lot to find St. George in the triple digits.
We went down to see two plays at the Tuacahn Outdoor Amphitheatre on Friday and Saturday night.
I had an inkling of what to expect when one of my friends told me it was good to go in June because later in the summer it becomes unbearable.
How much more unbearable could it be, I wonder?
This was absolutely sweltering.
The car said it was 122 degrees after we had dinner.
The director said when they tried to rehearse on the rubber track during the day, it registered 176 degrees on the surface.
We knew it was really only about 110 degrees in the theater but we were all crammed into these smallish seats with people on both sides and it was really warm.
Fortunately both shows were entertaining enough to take my mind off the heat some of the time (in Mary Poppins not so much but Starlight Express totally).
I also was better prepared the second night.
Marc and I both wore lighter and less clothing.
We took ice water in jugs and I had a cool, little misting fan I could turn on myself during intermission.
So I was happily misting during the 15-minute break when the hostess near us noticed my fan was dripping water on the race track in front of us.
Since all of the cast members in the show race around on roller skates going really fast she thought it might be a problem for me to be dripping onto the track.
She called for security and a mop.
I hastily put away my fan and tried to look nonchalant. I went back to being hot.
I was embarrassed and I certainly didn't want to be responsible for causing a collision or fatal accident.
So I didn't argue. In fact, I apologized for bringing my fan.
It wasn't until later I realized "Wait a minute. Just moments before a bunch of people had come down the track mopping it with water."
I don't think my couple of drops were going to make much difference.

Monday, June 3, 2013

It's pretty grand

Truly a grand sight
Another angle
(I'm the blonde in the background. :))

I haven't yet blogged about our Grand Canyon adventure except to gripe a bit about being sick and wax on about the exciting but dangerous Moki Dugway road in the Monument Valley area.
It's not that I don't have a lot to say about it.
It was way more interesting than years ago when my mother ordered we kids out of the station wagon to "Look at the Grand Canyon, dang it! We came all this way!"
I remember worrying much about whether my paper doll had the right outfit for the picture and a little about the vastness of the canyon.
This time around, 50 years or so later, Marc and I took a plane ride to the helicopter base, a helicopter ride into the bottom, a boat ride on the river and walked across the Sky Bridge.
A cool way to get there
We stayed two days in the canyon village itself and walked along the rim oohing and aahing about the spectacular views.
We looked down on the Colorado river and marveled that a lot of our family have successfully ridden the rapids.
We did NOT ride the mules down to Phantom Ranch.
We chose to see and not touch.
I made Marc buy me a book about all the fatalities in the canyon ("Over The Edge: ....) and I'm still poring over it, fascinated by the stories about people charging over the side only to expect rangers to risk their lives getting them off the ledge or from the tree that broke their fall.
I'm reading about flash floods and high water. Apparently it can be sunny with blue skies where you are and raining a ways off...creating a wall of water that will catch you in the slot canyons and make you die.
I'm learning all about foolishness.
Some people just stood too close to the edge. Some backed up without looking. Others met the end just goofing around.
Did you know that the majority of people died because they were trying to get a crazy photo of themselves looking like they were falling?
On the Indian Sky Bridge, most of the tourists were deliberately posing that way.
Our photographer didn't offer and when we asked, he said it was against the rules.
Whyever so?

Me, not being foolish