Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Into the woods with Redford

The good-looking guy at 79

Marc knows I have a crush on Robert Redford.
He doesn't worry about it much because, A. I don't think the chances of there being a reciprocal crush are very great and B. I have never met the man.
So Marc indulges me by making sure I have a good DVD collection of Redford movies and get to see whatever comes out starring our local boy.
I own almost all of his films with my favorites being "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "All is Lost" and "Up Close and Personal."
The latest is "A Walk in the Woods" with Redford and Nick Nolte.
We'd seen ads for this movie on TV and kidded each other about seeing it right away when it comes out.
So when Marc got an offer from the local AARP organization to see the movie for free at a Salt Lake theater before it is even released, he jumped for it and invited me along.
We toddled on down on Monday and joined a crowd full of old fogies (after waiting forever at a broken traffic light and standing in the 90-degree heat to cross the road).
How not to get eaten by a bear
We had all received offers from AARP with the common denominator being our age and ability, should I say dis-ability. Many came wielding their canes and in wheelchairs.
We climbed into our seats and sat back to enjoy, feeling fairly young comparatively.
(First of all, I'm not so much a Nick Nolte fan but the guy can actually act and he fits the part of an old, fat, barely functioning guy really well. Secondly, I just like to look at Redford even with his craggy, aged face.)
The story is simple. These two guys take off to hike the Appalachian Trail with barely a clue as to what they're getting into.
They revisit the past, ford a stream or two, meet a hyper know-it-all-drive-you-crazy girl, a pair of bears, camp in the snow and get into trouble here and there.
It's a low-key high adventure full of beautiful photography and a good deal of humor.
We laughed.
We fell right into the story.
We enjoyed it all the way through despite some bad language and a glimpse of Nolte's backside as he climbed into his tent.
Hiding from a scary creature
Sometimes it's a kick being a senior citizen.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The seating chart

Some of the good volunteers at BYU's 2015 Education Week were clearly becoming frustrated.
Some were even angry.
I'll explain.
Most of the classes in the auditoriums and classrooms I attended were filled to capacity and so people either had to leave to find another class, climb over you to a middle seat or stand in the hall hoping to catch a word or two.
When the chairs in a class you wanted to attend were all full, it was aggravating, especially if people in the class the hour before just didn't leave.
The overseers in each class tried to help.
They kindly suggested we all slide to the center of the row as we came in so those coming in late could easily find a seat — if there was one.
People weren't supposed to save a seat or take up more than one with their coat, backpack, etc. If we all slid over, the empties became visible.
It was a good plan in theory and one that I understand.'s always somewhat annoying to arrive 15-20 minutes early to get the seat you want and then have to move to one where you're flanked by humanity.
In my case, I always had another class across campus that I needed to attend and cover as a story so if I sat in the middle, it took forever to get out. (Then I'd be a latecomer hoping they'd move over!)
Plus, inevitably, the people taking seats on either side of me really liked wearing a lot of perfume or had just had onions for lunch.
It made it hard to focus and to breathe.
But, as the week wore on, I noticed the class bosses were losing patience.
They'd write on the chalkboard: "Sit In Center!"
They'd ask rather sternly, "Please move in! Now, please!"
And in a couple of instances, they said, "I'm noticing no one is moving! Hello?"
You'd think they were working with mobs of kids rather than with Gospel-fearing, mostly friendly adults.
But we all reacted pretty much the same.
We were comfortable.
We didn't want to move.
We prefer to make our own choices.
So we mostly stayed put and drove the volunteers crazy. It wasn't very mature of us.
Maybe if they'd offered mint brownies to anyone who followed their direction!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Party animals

What're you looking at?

Captive audience
We just had a party for the middle-younger grandkids.
(They are the ones between 4 and 10 who are willing to come bring their sleeping bags and "camp out" in the backyard with us. It works out to about 15 kids of various ages and gender.)
We cooked hot dogs. We made S'mores.
We painted T-shirts and we did little mosaic craft kits.We told stories and jokes and herded cats (well, maybe it just felt like it).
We pitched three tents and hid treasure.
Marc kept a campfire going.
We both kept kids from spearing one another with the hot dog sticks or from colliding in the dark.
But as hard as we worked, we couldn't really compete with the stars of this Grandma's Wild Animals event.
The skunk, the bearded lizard, the baby chinchillas, the hedgehog, the mini-pig, the cockatoo, the fox and the boa constrictor won out.
The kids loved them.
Some even petted and held them.
They asked about what the snake ate.
They giggled when the cockatoo showed off.
It was an interesting 90 minutes as Sarah Jacobsen from Wild Wonders brought in her cages and rescue animals.
She told us about each one, "Toothpick" is the hedgehog. "Tiny" is the boa constrictor who "just" ate three weeks ago and isn't hungry again yet. 
We watched her guide a blind pig around the blankets with a clicker.
We saw how she kept a firm hand on a Red fox with a white tail that really, really wanted to get down.
We laughed as the cocatoo flipped its feathers up and down and talked to us once she got safely back in her cage.
We ooed and ahhed over the fluffy little chinchillas. They were all soft and sweet.
Sarah's babies meet our babies
We slowly came to believe the skunk was not going to stink up the place or us.
Sarah came last year to my granddaughter's birthday party and so I borrowed the idea, asking her to come in all the way from Genola and bring everything but the hissing cockroaches.
It's a kind of magic all of its own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Falling leaves...

I promised to post updates on how we're liking our new electric Leaf so here's the latest in my educational series.
We still like the car.
We enjoy being the owners of a Zero Emissions vehicle and we spar over whose turn it is to take it.
However, some of the realities are coming to light and I've made so much noise about the benefits of going all-electric that I need to share these things too.
First of all, our Nissan dealer who promised we could come by and get a Quick Charge any time we liked has a broken Quick Charger.
We stopped by the other day for a 15-minute boost and were dismayed to find only the Level 2 chargers working.
That meant we either could drive it back home on faith after our party in Provo OR come back and plug in for an hour or so.
That's not what the salesman promised us.
And we got an updated power bill which was about $40 more a month than it had been.
We'd been told to expect a higher bill "between $5-$20 higher" according to the salesman.
Rocky Mountain Power doesn't offer any cost breaks or perks for going electric. They seem to think we're funny to be asking.
It's OK because our gas bill has been cut almost in half.
And our car payment is half of what it was.
So we're motoring about quite contentedly and enjoying our purchase.
It feels groovy!
We are still getting used to the absolute quiet when we start it and we still find it funny to go out at night to "plug the car" in.
We have to honk to let people know we're coming up behind them.
And we haven't decided if we'll upgrade our outlet to a 220-volt or install our own Quick Charge unit.
The jury is still out on whether we made an overall good decision here or not.
But in the meantime, we're good, thanks.