Category Archives: Utah

You Don’t Need Lessons

Yes, I do. I learned to knit and purl with minimal instruction. I got to the point that I could make my father and brother golf club covers because they were essentially mittens without a thumb and I didn’t learn to make a thumb. This post is for my one and only brother.

Petit point was easy but not very relaxing. I recently found a complicated one I started years ago but with arthritis, it’s not comforting either.

Mom didn’t really want me in her kitchen, underfoot, so I learned to cook through books and Gourmet magazine. After college I got a job, a big step up, and hated it. I quit the job and spent my life savings on cooking school, the best time at school I ever had. No, I’m not a chef, I’m a good cook.

Owning a pet. Been there 27 years and still going. Learned about cats from a book. My sister sent my brother east from CA with a five week-old cat, a Burmese mix, who never let me get a word in edgewise for 13 years. Dogs, I thought I knew. My first was abused by a deputy sheriff and in a shelter where I visited her for a year. When euthanasia was mentioned as she was becoming a danger to men and children (kids used to throw rocks over the fence at her) I took her home, rehabilitated her and she was so loved in our neighborhood they took up a collection and donated a tree to the city for our park, in her memory.

Our current dog was another rescue. We adopted her at six weeks and she turns 13 years old this weekend. We’re having a party for her and her human and canine friends.

Today is our 14th wedding anniversary. My husband is away on business but I’ll make his favorite stew this weekend. He got me a multi-purpose slow cooker I need to try. I bought flowers that will remind us of the places we’ve been together. Yes, he’s still the “human tornado” that makes a mess everywhere he goes and never puts anything away. After over 15 years I’m happy he puts down the toilet seat, even though changing a roll of toilet paper is beyond the realm of capability.

Utah, 30 years ago. Snowbird, 12,000 feet and air so thin one cannot get enough of it. My little brother says, “no, you don’t need lessons. I’ll teach you!” He did come and save me.

Four times down the bunny slope, two on the bottom half of Big Emma. Then he brought me up to the top and left me in a big bowl. I didn’t know how to turn (schuss) to reduce my speed so I just snowplowed at 100 mph then sat down and cried. I did that a few times and he took the lift back up and came and got me. My legs hurt from snowplowing for a week! He just told me tonight that my father sat down and cried as well. So much for brotherly “lessons.” God rest you, Dad.

My dear husband decided to create a blog for me a number of years ago. I was terrified. What if I couldn’t write or find anything to write about. The first blog I wrote was the most popular of all time, How to Eat a Concord Grape. I’ve thousands of visitors to this niche blog and have met some good friends through it. Thank you, dear! This was a “seat of the pants” thing I just had to do on my own. It has helped my writing and storytelling skills. Thanks to AL&J, retired English teachers, as well.

I remembered what I used to do when first confronted with a computer. I wrote down the 4-5 themes I had to hit in a white paper or speech, or legislation, wrote them down on a piece of paper, and got to work. Once a blank page or screen was not an issue, the words flowed.

The lesson here is sometimes one needs a lesson, like hurtling down a mountain faster than your car can drive. With a proper education, others are just a natural extension of current abilities. Older and wiser, I try to learn something new every day as each day offers new possibilities. Right now I’m into art, framing and flower arranging. The arthritis brings limitations but they’re only physical. Courage, ambition to be the best “me,” selflessness, kindness to others all help. Carpe diem, Dee


Foxes and Sockses and Boxes

Yes, I still have a few boxes and a lot of moving materials including one large folder with places for moving sheets, inventory, et al. Also one for where we’re moving with space for locations, and papers.

I’ll be ready when we move. I even have new moving tape for the prime dispenser and box cutters, scissors and permanent markers for boxes. Also labels in different colors. One is car, another home/MBR or whatever room, storage and discard. Oh, we’re not moving. I just have all the stuff. Ask me about the “Tuscan Retreat” someday. I got in trouble for that.

First I must say I am not a plant person. I killed two thyme plants and two sage plants this spring. OK, one cilantro is about to be pronounced DOA. Yes, I am a serial plant killer.

They spent forever planting my herb garden downstairs so I had to create my own in three containers indoors. The basil and some cilantro and rosemary are doing well. Yesterday I went to see the community garden and was very pleased that residents are “shopping” there. They tear off the buds, I bring small scissors and as it is such a short growing season, weekly I try to keep the plants from “bolting” too soon.

Yesterday I picked some thyme, sage, parsley and chives for an herb butter I’ll make and perhaps place in an old-fashioned ice cube tray (aluminum with the handle to get the cubes out, oh, you’re too young). The tray was a gift from my mother-in-law. Great gal.

As to socks I used to wear run-of-the-mill bargain-basement socks. Then I started taking care of Sage, the neighbors’┬ánew pup. No way I could flood or dry him out, like the herb, a great dog and I hope he is doing well.

Two roommate gals worked sales for SmartWool and ProBar. Guess what I got for taking good care of Sage? In the beginning I was so concerned about wearing $20 SmartWool socks that I bought $8 Crocs from the sale bin at the outlet store to protect them, until I nearly was electrocuted in the dry mountain climate by touching the thermostat, thrown back into the dishwasher and I fried the control panel. It, and I were immediately fixed.

No more Crocs indoors, I’ve at least 10 pair and wear them outdoors, even winter boots, and leave them on a dog towel inside the “mud room.”

Now I need to wear compression socks, doc says, for circulation. They cost $50 per pair, so I wear SmartWool over them when in the house, after taking off my Crocs at the door. I wear simple clothing and it is amazing to me that every day I’m wearing $70 on my feet without shoes, while cooking and playing with the dog!

Oh, I’ve about ten pair of unopened SmartWool socks and two of unopened compression socks so I’ve years to go. Now I need to find out Crocs sizing as I need a couple more pair. Thanks, neighbors, and Sage. Dee

Blackbird, Bye Bye

Pack up all your cares and woes,

Here I go, singing low, bye bye blackbird

…… blackbird, bye bye.

Last post, they’re selling my posts. I never wanted or got a nickel from them, I will be removing them from WordPress.

I don’t know how to do this as I’m a writer and not a techie, that’s probably why they allow people to steal my words and sell them.

To my readers, I salute you and will be back on other than WordPress. Thank you for being with me and inspiring me these few years. The grandmother who died before I was a year old sang that song to me, to get me to go to sleep. It’s that time. Dee


Quiet Country Morning

Sleeping nearly soundly because the dog had begun her early morning waking pattern, which ends with a paw on my leg or arm to GET UP! It was still dark, even though it was seven o’clock. Beep beep beep beep.

The snow came quietly overnight, a few inches that mostly melted during the day. Yeah, the ski resorts don’t like that melting stuff! I pulled up the shades as it’s always warmer when the snow falls, and it looked like Christmas. Then I heard what Jim calls the “articulated tractor,” a huge piece of machinery that can plow an entire neighborhood street in one fell swoop. If you’re on the street when that thing comes around, stay clear. It’s huge and seems to be going a good 30 m.p.h.

We went out before the driveway/walkway was plowed and it was slippery. Shortly afterwards, the skid loaders did the driveways with scraping snow and BEEP BEEP BEEP on back-up. Then the ski resorts started setting off mortars for avalanche control in the back country.

Interestingly, a number of ducks have decided to winter here, at least before it gets too cold for them. They may be stragglers, who knows. All I know is looking out at 14′ piles of snow placed by huge machines, my husband came home from work at eleven this morning with what I thought would be a cold, so I’m cooking a gorgeous stew, but now turns out to be a stomach bug. Guess I’ll be eating alone. Here’s to those quiet country moments, which we do actually get a lot of out here in nowheresville. Cheers, Dee

The Art of Layering

Two hours after the dog’s first walk, it has warmed to zero degrees here. First, you need the right gear, then you need to use it correctly. Start with silk long undies. Shirt, sweater, 800 fill-power Marmot jacket, polartec vest over top. Boots. Polartec headband topped with gorgeous hand-knit Pippi Longstocking hat (thanks PDX Knitterati). Heavy gloves.

It may go up to 27 degrees today, as the blue skies are prevalent today and no snow showers. Afternoon dog walk will change gear. Perhaps no long johns, Pippi hat and lighter gloves. Who knows? I know because I have a 50 lb. tub in the back of my SUV (outfitted with Blizzac tires) that is designed for snow emergencies. My husband packed everything including jumper cables and snacks.

Music of the day includes perhaps listening to new stuff, Michael Buble’s “Let it Snow” and “Country Strong.” Over the weekend I downloaded “Yodeling Fool,” a song we recently saw Wylie and the Wild West perform, for the family to hear. It’s a funny song and they enjoyed it.

Jim’s off to work, somewhat the worse for wear for his eight hours splitting and stacking wood for his folks. I fear I’ve pharyngitis again, something I used to get every year until I stopped taking antibiotics for it. I haven’t had it in nearly 20 years but do now and can’t even speak. My husband may actually like that symptom!

Off to clean up after the Human Tornado, then maybe sleep. Cheers, Dee

Sister Wives

We moved to Utah, perhaps to the most non-Utah part of the state. For example, the State Store a few miles down the road has the best wine selection in Utah. That’s not to say the best in the world. Micro-breweries here have to sell their beer to the State and buy it back to sell or serve in the restaurant. It’s a strange place, in a beautiful and harsh setting.

Many of the folks in the State are LDS, which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are not polygamous. More orthodox sects are polygamous. We live in a ski community with guests from other states and countries and enjoy our neighbors and our views.

We are a non-religious monogamous couple with a dog who loves living here, too. Just because we live in Utah doesn’t mean we wear high-necked dresses or are sister wives. The LDS culture is that of hard-working people of faith. Good, honest people who work for a living and care for others in need. We don’t know any polygamous families. While I would have a problem sharing my husband with others on a regular basis, I am not judge or jury for these families who are fulfilling their religious beliefs.

Apparently a new show came out on The Learning Channel (TLC) called Sister Wives. Since that time, the police have undertaken an investigation into this family. Not all Utahans are Mormon. Most Mormons are LDS and monogamous. Please don’t judge people who live in Utah with a broad brush, OK there are strange liquor laws, that’s a given. “Oh, you live in Utah” has a bad connotation for many, and it should not as it is now Forbes #1 state for business. Honest people, good values. We’re happy living up in the hills in heathen country near organic farmers markets and even Whole Foods. Don’t know if I set the record straight, but it’s a shot. You’ve got to give me that. Cheers, Dee

Mountain Passes

This past Sunday we went out for lunch and decided to go for a drive that ended up being much longer than anticipated. This pass links five ski resorts and is, of course, closed in winter and during rainstorms in summer. Sorry, this was an unplanned trip so I didn’t have the camera with me.

The turns and road conditions gave me pause and made for some white-knuckle driving conditions. Jim took over at the bottom of the pass until we got down to the valley. I was a few inches from a 2,000 foot drop with no shoulder an no guardrails. So my white-knuckle moments were when HE was driving!

But the views over the Uintas and the Wasatch range were spectacular and this was one of the final weekends to make the trip before the snows force closure until summer 2011. We went up to 9,700 feet above sea level, above the tree line, and there’s actually a valley a few hundred feet below populated by firs and aspens, and the aspens were a shockingly bright yellow in the sunlight.

I am continually amazed at the gorgeous country in which we live. We have looked at homes here with no view, one actually in a basement (who could live in a large home in a basement in the mountains?) and looking out at anything less than what we see now is unthinkable. Ah well, now it comes down to what one can afford…. Cheers, Dee.

Moose Update


They walked about 15 feet from our window today. I had to call the wildlife photographer (for the folks whose preserve the moose are currently in) to tell her. From a network of neighbors who also live along the Preserve we know that they’ve been here at least since this morning; what we thought were mother and one year-old (they live with Mom for two years) are probably two juveniles; and we know for certain that a large moose was killed on the Interstate the other night.

I’ll be in touch with the Preserve people tomorrow, as they were closed tonight. What magnificent creatures they are! I only hope they can live on their own at this stage of life. Right now they’re in a fenced preserve (with a fence they could jump but that may mean the highway and being run over by a semi) with food and water and no real predators. If you were a fox would you try to bring down a 1,000 pound moose?

I do know that the cranes haven’t been seen at all today, but it was a hot day and I closed the shades to keep it cool in here for several hours. They probably haven’t left the preserve, because I don’t believe their “colts” are able to fly just yet.

Life in the wild is interesting. Glad I bought a cowboy hat and have some sturdy boots, no, not cowboy boots, just rain and snow boots. Cheers! Dee


Yes, a mama and her year-old “baby” were out on the Preserve just a bit ago, a rare sight indeed. The danger is that they have to jump the fence at some point and may be hit on the highways. But I invited the photographer for the local Preserve up to our deck to get some shots from above. She promised to send me a photo.

I had binoculars and we caught them foraging near a stream, sitting down some of the time. They’re almost black with lighter brown on top. Magnificent animals. I love living on a nature preserve! Cheers, Dee

We Do Jewelry

I’m concerned that a lot of our neighborhood is unoccupied and it looks as if many stores aren’t even here yet and the ones that are, are not making ends meet.

So after a year of living here I visited several stores down the street and asked how they’re doing. I’m not a shopper at all but managed to purchase a few things along the way.

Some told me that a sunny day is a good day. Those are few and far between this June. I found an old-fashioned three-speed girl’s bicycle that’s brown with flowers on it. Even the tires have flowers as the tracks. I’ve no-where to put it but it’s gorgeous and I’d love to take it out on the path every day. No, Zoe, you can’t come until I learn to ride a bike again and you learn to not pull me everywhere!

Everyone was nice and at the last place I told them what I wanted, to learn beadwork for a certain project and asked for a private class to do so. Both people there were on their cell phones constantly, which is irritating to me as a customer. I was told that I’d have to talk to the owner about a class.

The owner finally got off the phone and the clerk asked her about beading. She said: “We make jewelry, not embellishments to fabric.” I asked if I could get a class on beading and she repeated her mantra. If her husband is in charge of “selling” our town to local businesses and residents, his wife could use a class in dealing with customers. I’ll teach it, for free.

These local business owners must not need money, and owning a shop may be just an expensive hobby. That may make one person happy, yippee! But for a customer shopping in these tony digs, locals are treated like dirt. That’s why we don’t shop here unless there is one certain thing (an esoteric math puzzle from the toy store) we need. I thought about helping them, but have definitely changed my mind.

You know that educational mantra, “publish or perish,” and I say be customer-friendly and sell something, lest you perish. These people don’t seem to care. They do jewelry. Dee

ps The good part is that I got a Beatles’ DVD “All Together Now” and “clapton unplugged” both on sale from a place that no longer honors the Local Card, which started this rant.