Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eggsactly right

The Easter Bunny's sweat shop

Easter is always hard on my brain.
We try to host "Grandma's Easter Egg Hunt" every year and with the blending of two families and 33+ grandkids, the math is too difficult for me.
I start out thinking it'll be no biggie...Just make a list and check it twice. Buy candy and lots of little plastic egg-shaped containers and it'll be fine. Start early and it'll be fine. (Say "It'll be fine" over and over again.)
But it quickly involves multiplication and division.
We want the hunt to be worth attending so each child should be looking for a dozen or so candy-filled eggs, right?
So if we have 33 walking kids, minus those who'll be away on vacation and those who are too grown to participate or those who'll be at gymnastic meets, that leaves 20.
Twenty times 12 is...uh, let me get my calculator.
Add in the babies and the bigger kids who will be assisting the Easter Bunny in the hiding...divide by the ones who need their eggs early.
And how much candy will it take to fill approximately 200 eggs?
Every bag is maybe good for 20-30 eggs? How will I know when I have enough?
The bunnies are easy. One for each basket — but I need to remember to buy baskets and make sure I have enough pink ones for the girls who only want pink. Is yellow with flowers OK for the boys?
How do I make it fair candy-wise?
Hours of endless fun
Put the same amount into each egg so no matter what they all get similar bounties?
What about variety?
And what if they don't all like the same things?
Oh well, I end up putting about half a dozen things in each egg and slamming them shut...unless the marshmellow bunnies won't fit.
It always goes from a slam-dunk to a major assembly line operation.
I lay out little rows of eggs and count and count.
I make Marc come count too because somehow I end up at the hunt wondering if I miscounted when somebody can only find eight instead of 12.
It's not the world's biggest problem, I know.
And I'm aware that the point of Easter is to celebrate God's greatest gift to the world. That's what it's all about.
It's going to be fine. I know that.
But it sure would be nice to get this right.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Running water

Utah is known for voluntarism and for love of family and for selflessness.
So why would people walk by a disaster scene and not help?
I found the question nagging at me after I watched the film "The Evanescence of Hope" at the 2015 LDS Film Festival, shot and produced by Loren M. Lambert.
Seems Mansour Ariazand had gone hiking on Father's Day a couple of years ago and tried to jump across a swollen mountain stream. He missed and couldn't get a grip on the slick, wet other side and was swept into the icy, cold water in Bells Canyon, down and over three different waterfalls.
Why he wasn't killed outright was a miraculous thing in itself.
Then when Jill Caree Anderson and Brynn Mudliar, and a couple nearby noticed him stuck between a rock and a tree branch, that was more than fortunate. Not only did Suzanne Jansen have training in CPR but Anderson and Mudliar were former flight attendants trained to stay calm in dangerous situations.
They were also willing to risk their own lives for a stranger.
They waded in and grabbed his head, holding his face above water so he could breathe. They ripped apart the clothing he wore that bound him to a big log poised to tip over and on down to the next waterfall. They stood and knelt and shivered in the icy water for more than two hours.
Ultimately they kept Ariazand alive until more help could come for him and them. Alone, they couldn't pull him from where he was wedged in the fiercely flowing water.
(First a rescue helicopter couldn't help with the equipment rescue personnel had on board. Secondly, another helicopter couldn't land where Ariazand was but had to find a spot further away which required personnel to hike back to help.)
It took time. It took patience and faith.
Meanwhile, those first on the scene were hollering for more people to come help them hold on.
Able-bodied hikers were all around and near them.
Some watched from a ways off.
One or two filmed the scene with their phones.
Some called 9-1-1.
On the film, Anderson asked what was wrong with people...why did no one else help? What was going on?
I've tried to figure this riddle out.
Did they think the situation was under control?
Did they think it was a training exercise?
Did people figure they would only make matters worse?
Would I wade into freezing cold water to try and help even though I'm old and can't swim?
I hope so.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Making a new friend

I parted with an old friend this past weekend.
I handed over my cute, little, not-so-smart phone to the Verizon store so they could give it to a women's shelter.
It has been a good friend, reliable and kind.
My baby toy
I could count on my phone to accept and make phone calls. I had a little pull-out keyboard on which I learned to text and spell badly. (Never could get my fingers to hit the right keys.)
It wasn't very impressive as cell phones go but I loved it.
I had even bought a 25-cent flowery case to dress it up.
But my husband had better things in mind for me. He was convinced that I needed a smart phone and that I would love it once I had one.
Our contract was up with our carrier and Marc's phone was misbehaving so off we went to "look."
Now I have a jazzier, more modern iPhone 5s and I'm having to learn new skills, new ways to navigate to do what I want.
It isn't enough to find the phone when it's ringing inside my purse.
I have to "slide to unlock" it and start listening.
When I'm done, I hit the orange phone.
At least, I think that is what I do.
I'm having a hard time.
There are all sorts of buttons and apps that beckon to me, all kinds of things to deal with.
I sit down when I have a minute and try to get acquainted but I get lost or stuck pretty quickly. (So far I can play Jenga and the girl at Hobby Lobby helped me find my 40-percent-off coupon.)
The snazzier, jazzier
Marc keeps telling me it's easy and I'm going to love it once I get used to it.
I guess I really have no choice in the matter.
I can either adapt or pay for an expensive toy that I don't know how to play with properly.
In the meantime, I miss my familiar friend.
I miss the keyboard. I miss knowing what to do when someone leaves me a message or calls in while I'm already on the line.
I feel oddly alone.
I sometimes wish I could just hit speed dial and phone home.