Tag Archives: guests

The Dynamic Duo

I’ve a new name for our repeat canine guest, Miss L, and our Zoe. Sighthound and Chowhound. Yesterday I split a jerkey treat L’s “mom” brought over and Zoe ate it in 30 seconds. L delicately held it in her paws and spent nearly eight minutes on it.

Mom bought me (not the other kids as I was the eldest and an example) multiple etiquette books and made me learn how to set tables, fold napkins and walk with a dictionary on my head. I also had to take ballet, piano and violin lessons. Come Spring I’d take off my shoes and go barefoot down cliffs to a creek and catch crayfish and the neighbor boys would throw snakes at us, me and my little sister.

The first night with guest L, she slept on our bed with her spine against my legs all night. Zoe slept on her cushy bed on the floor. Last night it reversed. But we were watching a show last night on an L-shaped sofa. I was in the middle. They were sound asleep in the same position on either side of me, each with their head on a down pillow. Sisters of a sort, though mine is 80 in people years and L is about 15.

Our walks have been eventful. Luckily both girls have the same Martingale collars and leather leashes so other dogs have not been that big an issue. Winter is on its way so the squirrels are brazen and stand five feet away before jumping up a tree. I had to take them separately for “last chance” last night because Zoe only needed a quick one, L needed a good walk.

Indoors, they chase or play keep-away with Zoe’s favorite toy, or they play-fight with fake growls and running.Then they settle down after 10-15 minutes together and sleep.

It takes Zoe under two minutes to eat her food then I place her and her water in another room. It’s taking Miss L nearly 15 minutes now, to eat her dinner. She is so delicate. Well, not that much as she likes to pick it up, drop it on the floor then eat it. That’s why I’ve a bath mat under her water and food dishes!

Miss L is dressing up for Halloween. Her mom’s flying home to dress her and promised to bring her by for admiration and a treat. I think she has a handmade costume to be fitted. Something about a creature with eight arms……

As soon as I moved to my office at 6 a.m. they awakened and are awaiting a walk. I just have to check the temp and wind and dress appropriately and we’ll go. Here’s to a dognacious day. Dee


Playtime/Bedtime for Bonzo

You may not remember Bedtime for Bonzo, I’ve never seen it either but it was actor/president Ronald Reagan’s most famous B-movie.

Every once in a while I say “bedtime for bonzo” when it’s time for Zoe to lead me to bed. She always does. At night Zoe the dog needs her beauty sleep so she can be a neighborhood mascot during the day. No, I don’t give her cucumber slices for her eyes.

Our canine friend L is coming over to spend a few days with us. They get along, have similar schedules and chase a bit but normally just steal a toy and play keep-away until they tire.

I believe it is healthy for old dogs like Zoe and younger ones to spend time together, as long as Zoe doesn’t teach her too many bad habits! Arf! Dee


We heard on Christmas Eve that family from 1,200 miles away may be coming for a visit. They planned on Friday. Yikes. Then they called this morning and said they’d be here this afternoon.

Oh, my! I didn’t even have my “to do” list started on paper, it was in my head, but no menu or shopping or anything. So here I am awaiting a call and tidying up. Haven’t combed the dog yet, yes Miss Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

I made a list for my husband and called the butcher to have an identical steak to the one we ordered for Christmas day cut and ready to go (they like me, I bring them chili).

Not to worry. I am the Mary Poppins of the day. I’ve a week’s worth of dinner menus planned. Also, a list of the most interesting things our young nephew would like to see. And though we’ve one video game he loves and has almost mastered (age-appropriate) we’d rather he see ice fishermen, old pump house equipment, a science museum and flight museum and sled down the big hill after building a cardboard sled with his Uncle Jim.

Yes, we punt and enjoy family for the few days a year we get to see them. This will be a special treat. Also a challenge as this good cook has a picky eater on her hands and I’ll have to do some Auntie L trickery to hide things he hates (he’s not allergic to anything) and ask him to try it first, then I’ll tell him what’s in it. Culinarily yours, Dee

Series of Mishaps

Yesterday I was early to pick up our friend from the airport. My husband and his team have been working hard, late hours for a while now to get a certain project deployed. Last week I made them a blueberry-lemon trifle. Yesterday I had no time to do anything so I stopped by a local place to get some brownies and tarts. They told me to come around more often!

Then I headed to a bookstore, which I found, then ended up on local streets that took me far afield of the airport and by then our friend had her luggage and was waiting. It was made up last night with a nice dinner and five minutes of fireworks at the 2002 Olympic ski jump/bobsled and luge venue right across the street. I said they were for her.

So, today I took her first to the visitor center so she could find out what to do here for the next few days. Then we drove through Park City, to Deer Valley resort and off to Kamas for a visitor experience like no other. A drugstore that sells camping equipment, has a pharmacy, sheet music, lawn and home decorative items and a 1950’s lunch counter with the best burger in the state. Just like getting lost yesterday, it is closed every Thursday (even the pharmacy). I never knew because every few months my husband and I make a point of going there on a Saturday for lunch, and always bring out-of-state guests for the experience.

We headed back to “civilization” and hit one of my favorite burger and fries places, no muss, no fuss, just order at the counter and wait for your number to be called. But they know us there so we had a nice conversation.

We ran a few errands for camera batteries, food et al and one of Jim’s colleagues joined us for dinner. It was hastily planned so was to be a very simple dinner. I got a 2# pork loin. seasoned it and put stone-ground mustard all over it, placed it in a bag (in a dish in case the bag leaked) and poured two bottles of a local beer over it and let it marinate for a few hours.

I roasted some red potatoes with garlic, rosemary and olive oil; and wanted to make green beans but they were so washed out and mealy that I braised carrots instead.

For dessert we had tea and very intense ginger cookies, plus a wedding cookie, both store-bought. Let’s hope my bad luck doesn’t continue as our guest wants to go skiing tomorrow. I just knocked wood, hope you’ll do so as well.

Our Houston guest hasn’t met the Pippi hat as yet, but chose my faux fur Russian hat for us to walk the dog this morning. She’s looking forward to the deluge of snow that is expected tonight and for the next two days. That’s easy, she’s not driving! I do hope she’s having a good time. She’s already found a play to go to this weekend that sounds very funny. I would like to dedicate this blog to easy-to-entertain guests and old friends. Cheers,Dee

ps pdxknitterati I got a Peter, Paul and Mary cd today just because it had 500 miles and Day is Done on it, two songs I taught myself to play when I was twelve and got a cheap guitar for Christmas. I actually had a band, three inept guitarists and even worse singers, and we played at our school! I’d just like to remember how those songs are supposed to be sung, over decades. d

Bluebird Day

We’ve tons of snow, it was cold as it could be this morning so I bundled up to take out the dog first thing. Now there are blue skies and it’s warm (maybe 30 degrees). Great day to fly here, as our friend is right now.

At night we can see the stars, unimpeded by city lights, and the moon is so bright on the snow it almost looks like daylight in the wee hours.

As to guests, I obsessed over the long weekend about keeping the place as squeaky clean as it was on Friday, when I did six loads of wash. My husband thought otherwise and seemed to enjoy messing things up, like washing the dog in the guest bath. I nagged and he got cranky and finally I made peace with myself and said I’d just let it go and clean up when he leaves the house.

Then I remembered that I don’t need to coddle this guest. We haven’t seen her for two years but she’s the one who, for five years went with my husband to see the occasional movie I would not attend (mainly the horror variety) and was a stalwart holiday “orphan” at our table. And she has seen our home in every stage from clean to messy to helping us move out.

The downstairs was vacuumed on Monday. Yes, there are a few dog hairs on it but I’m not going to obsess. Que sera, sera. But the dog is clean and brushed out and I had her nails trimmed AND washed the car. Not obsessing, though. Cheers, Dee

Today’s The Day

Jim’s parents are coming out for a visit. A whole week! Normally I like to have a travel book and local magazines handy for guests to peruse and figure out what they’re going to do, but I think this time they’ll be more exhausted from this “vacation” than if they hadn’t taken off work!

There’s the local showcase of homes at which they plan to spend at least two days of the long weekend. We have to go to the Park Silly market on Sunday because my hairdresser’s relatives are coming down from Logan for the farmer’s market bringing heirloom tomatoes and fingerling potatoes that will be featured on my daily menu.

We’d like to send them on the really cool commuter train to several museums and lunch in Ogden one day that Jim’s at work. And so on. This family doesn’t take vacations, much less fly 1,500 miles to get there. When Jim and I first met, his parents had run a dairy for their entire lives. Shortly before we married I was trying to get the lay of the land on family traditions. I asked Jim what his family did for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. He replied, “milked cows.” So while his father gave up the dairy he still raises cattle, and Margie got 7 goats last year that now number 35, it’s tough to get him off the farm but he’s cut more hay this year than ever before and can take a week off.

I think they’ll love it up here in the mountains. The home tour will provide additional ideas and inspiration for the retirement home they’re planning in Texas, and I’ve also asked for information on touring a nature preserve for local native grasses. They’ve already done research on native grasses in TX and would like to have these as a feature of their new property. Plus they’ve never been to UT and would like to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the copper mine so they’ll be busy. No sitting on the sofa reading civil war books!

It’s cool enough at night that we can cook out and eat on the deck, then come in and start a fire. We’re looking forward to it. I’ll finish cleaning, get a table for dining in (I’m not going to be able to move my desk from the dining table, ran out of time) and we can use the chairs. It’ll work. Awaiting delivery of fruits and veg and steaks from the organic farm so we pretty much have breakfasts and dinners covered. The ribeyes from this farm are excellent and we’ll have some tonight, along with organic russet potatoes with all the fixings and I’ll saute some red and gold cherry tomatoes for color and flavor.

I guess we love new places, new challenges, and enjoy sharing them with family and friends. Writing time may be scarce but I’ll try to keep up. Maybe Jim’s mother can do a post! Cheers, Dee


No, I’m not ready for it. But Jim has been offered and has accepted a full-time job in Utah, effective immediately. We don’t yet know where we’ll be living but are definitely here until at least October 15 if not longer.

We have a special guest staying this weekend and it’s been fun to cook and tour a bit and do some Park Silly shopping. I had to throw away one of Jim’s four year-old “Utah formal” shirts last week so we bought him another and I got a couple of belts.

Last night I made: ribeye steaks on the grill, simply rubbed with cut garlic, rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper; roasted red potatoes with garlic and rosemary; and sauteed zucchini with a few panko crumbs tossed in at the end. We followed with Whole Foods raspberry sorbet with fresh berries and herbal tea.

Breakfast was a mini-feast from our organic sources out here with eggs, toast, maple breakfast sausages and applewood smoked bacon. With organic orange juice or fresh-squeezed apple juice.

A chicken is in the oven tonight stuffed with rosemary and clementines. I’m making risotto with chanterelle mushrooms, and will saute a few red and yellow cherry tomatoes for color on the plate. Our guest “checks out” tomorrow and I’m tasked with getting ready for Jim’s folks to arrive on Wednesday. I’m going to try to pack up my desk and make it livable as what it was intended to be, a dining table. I also have to come up with menus for a week and place an appropriate order for organic items that doesn’t overwhelm frig or freezer.

So, it’s back to work tomorrow but the weekend has been fun. I saw one of the cranes flying early this morning, that’s an unusual and precious sight as their wingspan is so great and they do land gracefully unlike the ducks who splash-land in the creeks when they’re flowing.

Hope y’all had a great weekend and are enjoying some time now that the kiddos are back in school. Cheers! Dee


One of my greatest challenges is guest menus, especially for guests who plan to live with us for a few days. Even though I’m older and established and know how to cook, it’s always a challenge to try to match everything so that everyone has a good time, or provide alternatives so that the fish-phobes and vegans are comfortable.

Years ago I had a small apartment with zoned heating. I wanted to control heating costs so kept the apartment at 45 degrees so the pipes wouldn’t freeze and when I got home from work would turn the heat in the bedroom only to 55 degrees. That year, Santa bought me an arctic weight down comforter and I got cable. I was collecting cookbooks and planning dinner parties in my first solo apartment so would hole up on a Sunday morning under my comforter, wearing a sweater, and have books and magazines all around me to plan the perfect dinner.

Of course I had to take into account the small gas stove and I had some mistakes, like storing bacon in the bottom drawer while the oven was on up above to make a frittata.

I’m here in the hinterlands with no cookbooks. Looking online to remind me or spur me to something new is not as romantic as sitting on the bed with six cookbooks, magazines and a notebook planning a menu for family, friends or colleagues.

Way before I went to cooking school I thought of menus, pairings, flavor combinations and only hope that my guests enjoyed the experience and didn’t think they were guinea pigs for menu/recipe research. My education continues and I have to thank you for that. Each day I learn something new is a day well-spent. Cheers, Dee