Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make Mine An Android, Please

Nik talked me into getting a smart phone the other day. I had been hanging onto my old Samsung slider for some time and the keypad was "losing touch" shall we say. Nik is like my Uncle Larry, a gizmo guy. Give him a new anything and he has it figured out end to end within 24 hours. All I want is something that remembers phone numbers, can be used as an alarm or calendar, and fits in my pocket.

The good thing is that my kids know me pretty well by now, especially when it comes to this kind of stuff. Sometimes I actually get a little ticked at how well Kyle knows me, but he's almost always right. That actually makes me a little ticked, too, but what can you do?

We walked into the Sprint store which was manned by no less than 11 sales people. I've waited for almost an hour before at a rival store just to get someone's attention to ask a basic question, but with Nik along, you only need a sales person to ring up the purchase.

Nik: "Mom, there are two kids of smart phones, IPhone by Apple and Android by Google."
Mom: "Do they have them in some pretty colors?"
Nik: "These over here come in 3G and those over there are 4G. G has to do with speed."
Mom: "This one is too fat and that one is too ugly."
Nik: "This one is a slider. You turn it sideways and it has a qwerty keyboard for typing."
Mom: "That's quirky, not qwerty. Why in the heck would somebody re-arrange the danged keyboard and who has fingers that small anyway? What is the matter with people?"

It went like that. I ended up with a 3G Samsung Transform Ultra, a $50 rebate, and a qwerty keyboard that I tried and will probably never use again. I came home, went on Ebay and ordered a lovely blue Hawaiian-flowered case and can tell I'm going to have to order at least one spare battery. It's been three days and I have a headache from looking at the screen learning how to download apps and create groups, change settings, etc. I start to panic when the battery gets near 70% power. It's almost like one of those simulated pets where you stay up nights making sure you feed and play with it so it doesn't die. The screen is so sensitive that I had to take off one-touch dialing because I was calling people randomly. Ring..."Did you call me? No, I thought you called me. Sorry, new phone...." (If you are one of the few people I haven't "pocket-called" yet, please accept my apology in advance.)

One of the greatest features is that I now have Voxer and can talk to my daughter in Canada for free. It's sort of like a walkie-talkie setup. Nik set us up on an app called GroupMe; all the family were invited. It was fun for the first while, but then it became sort of like a wild Facebook; every time anybody said anything, everybody else got a notification. People were clamoring to get out of the family. Too much of a good thing....

I can't wait to Vox my grandson, Carver, and tell him GRANDMA HAS A TRANSFORMER PHONE!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Oxford Cemetery

The year Morley Weyerman was the Seminary president and I was the VP, our kind and humble Seminary teacher (Blain Morgan) sought to do more than teach classes. He wanted us to learn through hands-on service, so he contacted area church leaders about a service project. Someone suggested the Oxford cemetery could profit from some care. That was a real understatement. The only way you could tell it was a cemetery rather than a field of sagebrush was if you happened to stumble over a headstone.

We met with Brother Morgan and set up a plan. I'm not sure now how the ball got rolling but people were contacted and a date was set. On that magic day, half the townspeople from Clifton and Oxford (and maybe Dayton) met at the cemetery bright and early in the morning. There were shovels and rakes and gloves and trucks and tractors...my dad's included. While Dad and Kenny Kendall's dad and perhaps Cluff Kendall were busy with their tractors doing the things that tractor drivers do, the rest of us were loading up weeds and junk and rocks in the backs of trucks. Dozens of people spent quite a few hours clearing the area, and when we were through, it looked amazing.

Every time I take Highway 91 from Clifton to Downey, I glance over at the lovely Oxford Cemetery and feel a little swell of happiness in a job well done. One man's attempt to teach some young people the value of service obviously worked. Thank you, Sir.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


My mom passed away last night (Tuesday), two months shy of her 95th birthday. A more wonderful woman was never born. Here's a recent photo of her with me and my son Nik and her great-grandson, little Teddy:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Look it up!

Kyle's always asking me how to spell words. "Mom, how to you spell subconscious? How about articulate? What does symmetry mean?" Sometimes he wants to know, and sometimes he's just testing me. We do this with old country songs, too, but he's as good as I am with those, sometimes better. (It remains a mystery to me how someone can like both screamo and old country music.)

While not flawless, I'm a pretty darned good spellur (sic). The reason why is that whenever we asked my parents how to spell a word...and I mean every darned time...their response was "Look it up!" The Bible may have had a semi-permanent layer of dust on it, but the dictionary did not.

Webster was considered so valuable that the way you knew you had crossed the Rubicon into being an adult is you were gifted your own dictionary. Mine was brown and leather-simulated. It had little tabs with the letters on so you could tell right off where to start looking. From the side, with the book closed, you could see little red dots on the paper, like you can see gold edging on a Bible's pages.

Every so often someone would come through Clifton trying to sell sets of Encyclopedias, aka Encyclopedia Britannicas, two dozen or more hard-bound reference books to a set. Only the rich or the desperate-to-please made such a purchase. We just always wanted them to give their spiel and leave because we knew they were beyond our means and imagined how uncomfortable our parents must have been to not be able to purchase something so obviously "good" for their family, a fact no doubt stressed by the salesman. (That may be why I have such an aversion to people arriving at my front door trying to sell me something.)

Having a set of those encyclopedias these days must, ironically, be something of an albatross. Even the most basic computer now comes with more built-in capacities than even the top-of-the-line sets used to contain. I've wondered more than once where all those sets are now...tucked in somebody's basement, in 1,000,000 landfills, ballast in some ship? I inquired of the internet and discovered that you can donate them to "Books for Africa" though I have no idea who would pay to ship them there. You can also donate them to the Salvation Army who, for all I know, may send them to Books for Africa.

It's something I don't have to deal with, and Yahoo for that!