Salt Lake City, Utah

On our free evening in Salt Lake City, we decided to go to the Mormon Tabernacle to hear the choir practice. The most impressive building shown in the picture above isĀ  the Mormon Temple (not where the choir practiced). The practice was held in the dome shaped tabernacle. Before entering, there was a group of kind elderly ladies that searched our purses. People were sitting informally in the pews to listen. It attracted an international audience.

By far my favorite instrument is the pipe organ. This was the largest pipe organ that I have ever seen. The sound was rich. Too bad I couldn’t fit it in my suitcase!

The tabernacle was inside of Temple Square which was surrounded by a large wall. Once I passed through the gates, I felt like I was in a different world. Everything inside was green and lush. There were immaculate gardens. It was peaceful and beautiful.

There were several statues in Temple Square, one of a seagull. Our Salt Lake tour guide said that when the original Mormon settlers came there was a cricket plague. The seagulls swooped in to devour the crickets. Now the seagull has a monument erected in its honor. It is also the state bird. Who would’ve guessed?

Right upon leaving the grounds, there was a young group of Christians evangelizing to the people as they exited.

Outside the gates there were several outdoor fountains that at certain times of the day had a water show, but I didn’t see that.

Down the road from Temple Square was a place that had a lot of signs for tourist photos. It seemed like a traffic hazard more than anything. It was something different.

IMG_2158

Like major cities, there was a homeless population. There were kids that came by on skateboards asking for money to buy drugs.

The city itself is very clean. It was hard to find a cigarette butt or a candy wrapper. It would be nice if such care was taken towards preserving the polluted Great Salt Lake. Although it is nice to know that they weren’t serving fish from the Great Salt Lake at local restaurants since the lake is much too salty for fish.

One major misconception I had about Salt Lake City before visiting was that it was a dry city (as in hard to find alcohol, not as in climate). I didn’t find that to be the case, although the beer on tap has only 4% alcohol. Some of my local favorites are the Moab Brewery Porcupine Pilsner, Squatters Arnold Palmer Ale, and Wasatch’s Polygamy Porter. The good thing about less alcohol was that I was able to sample more. Although Utah law says that you can only have two drinks in front of you at a time, even if those drinks are 2 ounces each.

I was surprised at some of the restaurants in the city. I had an unbelievably good burger at Fat Jack’s Burger Emporium. I built my own and it included some unusual ingredients like Spam, avocado, cilantro, and a fried egg.

Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to explore the city, we were able to see a lot of the major highlights.

Heading home again too

I’m on my way home again, back on the train. Apparently my husband published my first few scrawlings as he tried to plug in his phone to charge with my charger. Now I’m feeling annoyed and disappointed that the trip is coming to an end. Please just stay on your side of the seat until I am done writing now. It wasn’t like we were making out or anything…Honestly!

The last time we spoke, I was on the train to visit my cousin to compete in an 18 mile trail run. We finished the run in less than 4 hours. Good enough for me! 

In preparation for the big weekend, we went beer and wine sampling on Friday. I got a necklace to collect tags from different breweries we had samples at. My favorites were Pomeranian Beast reminding me of myself, a psycho insane runner of German heritage. I also liked Kimchi Stout, the sauerkraut beer..I briefly talked about starting a relay team named Medals and Beer Tag team. It didn’t go far..

We watched as the weather forecast promised rain, lots of rain. I just grabbed my very old running shoes, the ones with the sides wearing out with almost no tread. Not very gripping for a mud slide. But we lucked out. My husband was along. Did I mention that he is the patron saint of fair weather?? Well, I guess I am not sure about the whole saint part. Seems like ever time he is around, the rain stops. He signed up to join us on the 5 mile trail run on Sunday. We were supposed to get an inch of rain. We didn’t get wet at all until less then a minute after we all crossed the finish line… I never once had a drop of rain fall on me during a race and I’ve run plenty of races. 

About the trail run, I liked it. It was a lot different from road racing. The first half mile, I was trying to get away from the woman with the beagle puppy. It brought flashbacks of the time I tripped over my beagle trying to avoid a savage dog that jumped out of the ditch at us. I still have the scars. I could show you but I might scare the people on the train. After I avoided the dog, I had to get away from two women talking about their marital problems. Or maybe I should say one woman, she did all of the talking. She went into great detail about her husband brushing his teeth. Maybe if her conversation was more interesting, I would’ve lagged behind a little.

Seriously though, about trail running. It required a little more grace than road running. There was one woman that was constantly tripping over every branch and limb on the trail. It required a lot more motor planning and thought. There were times that I was coming down a hill that I almost imagined I was flying. The woods were beautiful and every step was different from the last. Just as my body was getting tired from running one way, it was time to switch to using another muscle. So it wasn’t the monotonous repetitive motion of the road.The trail was narrower than any road race I ran. There were also less spectators as the route was more remote.

My cousin and I ran a half marathon the first day and 5 miles the second. I found myself having a harder time running the second day. I felt like I was carrying around 50 extra pounds. My legs felt like lead. My mind was strong, but my body didn’t physically respond like normal. 

After the half marathon, I tried acupuncture for the first time. There was a group of people in a room stuck with needles relaxing. Frankly, I would prefer a massage myself.

After the race was finished, Paul and I went to Detroit for the first time. It was cool and rainy. I felt sad for the homeless people huddled under the highway overpass. We toured Belle Isle and stopped for supper at Greektown. I had such a great time away that I’m sad it’s over. 

I crossed a lot of stuff off of my bucket list in this short trip…an Amtrak train ride, trail racing, a trip to Detroit, acupuncture, eating authentic Greek food, and publishing a post in error. Lol. It’s been fun! 

Forever 21?

It has been a rough month. If only I could wipe February off the calendar this year.

There were a few good things that happened though.

The most difficult thing that happened this month was burying my MIL who fought death and wasn’t ready to go.

That was followed by the break up of my daughter Angel with her boyfriend of 3 years, Mitch.

Let’s just say I would rather think about the possibility of planning a wedding instead of a funeral…

It wasn’t in the cards I guess.

Talking about cards… Guess who got carded??

There is someone living out there that thinks I could possibly be under 21.

I went to the grocery store and bought a 6 pack of Madtown Nut Brown Ale. Great beer, by the way. The lady looked at my driver’s license which clearly stated 1974 and glanced at my face several times. I am hoping that she couldn’t believe I looked so young for my age versus she was visually impaired in some way.

Just for a quick comparison…the picture on the left was taken a few days after I turned 21. I remember the night well.

After sipping (not slipping) on mudslides, I decided to highlight my own hair.

Great! Now I’m thinking of songs…slip sliding in the rain…singing in the rain…what a glorious…anyway, back to my hair…

Highlighting my hair was a royal pain. Come to think of it, I don’t know of anyone else that did it besides hairdressers with their own hair.

Highlighting…I remember putting what was like a swimming cap on my head. Then I had to pull through small strands of hair out of tiny holes in the cap with what looked like a knitting needle.

I would not be considered a person that has a lot of patience to sit down and do crafts like knitting.

In fact, the only crafts I like is craft beer.

So, I said screw it, pulled the cap off, and highlighted all of my hair. Kind of gave me the grunge Kurt Cobain hair that was so wicked in the 90’s anyway. Who says that anymore?? That is so wicked.

The picture on the right was taken after I turned 21 for the second time.

I don’t look a day older from picture to picture, right??

Okay, maybe a couple of years**cough**cough**decades..

Forever 21?? Ah, who am I kidding??

It was fun while it lasted though…I chuckled in wicked mad laughter at the thought as I sipped my Madtown Nut Brown…slipped down…sliding…singing in the rain..Great!

 

 

The travel diaries; Park City, Utah

image

Paul and I have been to Park City a couple times for business. Park City is a ski resort town. This town hosted the winter Olympics back in 2002. As you enter town, you can see a massive ski jump. There are ski lifts located throughout the town. The resort that we stayed at was a ski resort in the winter. On the top left corner of the above picture, you can see a ski lift. In the off season, there are miles and miles of ski slopes turned into hiking trails.

image

We spent a lot of our free time hiking at the resort. We rarely saw any other people on the trails. There weren’t a lot of signs, but surprisingly we didn’t get lost.

image

It is absolutely beautiful in the fall.

image

We didn’t spend all of our time wandering around, however the few pictures I have of downtown Park City were not quite as scenic. While we were in Park City, we had some of the best sushi ever. Too bad I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. It was small and crowded, but had some of the best sushi. We also stopped in at the Wasatch Brewery for food and drinks. I tried the jalapeno beer. It was strange, the warmer the beer got the spicier it seemed. I also liked the Polygamy Porter. It was so good that I had to buy the I’ve tried polygamy shirt. I am a little paranoid to wear it at home in case I offend some of the Mormons in the area. It also had other little sayings on it like bring some back home for the wives and one is just not enough.

image

Back at the resort, we got together with Joe and some other business friends at the resort bar. The liquor laws in Utah are rather strict. I’ve heard that Park City is more lenient then other places in the state. For example, if we wanted to order a round of drinks, we had to purchase an appetizer first. I vaguely remember the bartender saying that if a beer is on tap that it has to contain 4% alcohol or less.

Park City is a nice little tourist town. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be there in the winter. Throughout the town, they had little bonfire warming spots which weren’t lit while we were there. It was a clean town and the people were friendly. It was quiet in the off season. It was nice to have this beautiful town to ourselves. 

The travel diaries, Denver

**Please be advised that this post contains adult content**

image

Ah, Denver…I really had a love hate relationship with this city. Paul and I attended a conference in downtown Denver a little over a year ago. We arrived in town on a Friday evening a few days before our conference began. After checking into our hotel, the first thing that we wanted to do was get something to eat. I was really looking forward to trying new craft beers and reacquainting myself with some of my favorite Colorado beers. The two beers pictured above are some of my favorites from breweries in CO. We were in CO in October, so I was really excited about having the Pumpkick beer since it is a seasonal beer that is hit or miss to find at home. But no such luck. I was very disappointed in their beer selection and the food in the city was nothing to write home about either. But I guess nowadays they specialize in other things…

Our first experience in the city happened while we were sitting in the restaurant. A man came over to the window and peered at me from outside. He smiled and waved excitedly at me. He was a nice looking man with shoulder length brown hair. I smiled and gave him a small hesitant wave back. Then he held up a sign that read smile if you masterbate. Gross! I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit. Once he saw my expression from reading the sign, he laughed disturbingly reminding me of Jack Nicholson in The Shining or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Not the greatest first impression for a first time visitor.

After supper, we walked a couple of blocks down to a historical Methodist church where we bought tickets for a pipe organ concert. The people selling tickets seemed surprised that their online marketing worked when I explained I found out about the concert online and that we just got off the plane and walked over. Paul and I were the youngest ones there. The concert itself was magnificent. I jumped out of my seat a little when The Phantom of the Opera was playing. My favorite instrument is the pipe organ which makes going to concerts anywhere a little challenging.

The following day there was a Zombie Crawl downtown. This is another event that I knew about but wanted to view as an outsider. It was really awesome going downtown in the morning seeing everyone dressed up for the occasion. They even had a 5k. It was rather sad that I saw runners having to stop for traffic lights. Personally, I would be upset if I had to lose so much on my running time. At home, they shut down streets but leave the traffic lights running.  I would’ve probably ran out in front of traffic in CO. It was probably a good idea that I did not run this race. The race participants didn’t seem to mind though. They seemed to be having fun. We stopped in a couple of shops and took a stroll down to the park.

image

I feel like I should have been wearing the outfit above while at the park. The park was very reminiscent of what I would imagine the 1960’s was like. Young college students were sitting around in a circle on the grass.  Lol.

image

I had to have a picture with the above sign as well. As I have said before, I don’t exercise while on vacation. That is a total lie. We walked all over the place. I was stupid enough to just bring dress shoes and sandals. Sunday we walked down to the Museum of Miniature Toys. It was a lovely little place. What really interested me was the old doll houses. They had some of the old toys that Paul and I played with as kids. What a fascinating trip down memory lane. Walking several miles there and back in sandals was a bad idea though. Note to self, bring athletic shoes next time. On a side note, I did wear in my new running shoes in Orlando. That was not a good idea either.

image

Unfortunately, Paul and I both got arrested at the zombie fest. Uh oh.

image

The zombie fest was downright exciting. People roamed around the streets in torn clothes dripping in fake blood. There was a guy full of blood laying down in the street. I am still not sure if that was real or not come to think of it. It was one big street party. They had all kinds of things to see in the streets such as caricature drawing. People crawled around the streets dressed like zombies. I felt like I was part of the Walking Dead cast. My favorite part was the large truck that had huge speakers playing dub step music. Paul and I had a great time dancing until somebody started squirting fake blood into the crowd.

Then our friends started arriving for the conference. A large group of conference goers wanted to check out the pot dispensary. We went to a place by the mall. It was very strange. To get in they scanned your driver’s license like you would a credit card. It was almost like a museum in there with tons of info about everything you would want to know and then some about different varieties and strains. What I thought was interesting was a young man in his 20’s obviously with his baby boomer parents excitedly taking pictures together. Kind of like a parent child bonding session. What a strange world we live in!

Joe also talked a group of people into going to one of the scariest haunted houses in the country. I am not into haunted houses that much, but I thought what the heck. We ended up being the last tour group to go through. It took about a half an hour to go through the whole place. It was very scary touching on all of the key elements that people typically fear. Tight spaces, yes. Rickety old elevators, yes. Spiders, yes, yes, yes. One of the scariest things happened when we got out. The haunted house closed for the night and we didn’t have a ride back to our hotel. Now that was scary! The haunted house was in a dark warehouse type district. Not a place I would want to walk through at night. We ended up flagging down someone with an extended van to take us back.

Then the conference started. After the first full day, one of the vendors threw a huge party with a DJ and open bar. I mean completely open bar including top shelf. The party lasted 6 hours. By the end of the evening, people were dancing on the tables, spilling drinks, and breaking glass. After the party was over, we weren’t quite ready to call it a night. Joe suggested going to Coyote Ugly to make a bra donation. The clasp on the back of my bra broke earlier that morning, so it seemed like a good idea. I was going to throw it out anyway. When I got up on the bar at Coyote Ugly, I was a bit nervous. I was five feet off the ground on a small bar. I thought I might fall. She had me do a couple of squats then toss up my bra. It is probably hanging up there like a bat in a cave to this day. After I got down from the bar, Paul introduced me to our biggest competitor in our state. Hhhhmmm…

After that night, I earned the reputation as an attention seeking adventurous life of the party type which is funny because that is not the way I am at home.

I will always think of Denver as a drug city which has little to do with the legalization of MJ. I saw pills passed out on the street. I saw a man strung out on meth or something. He was muttering to himself and seemed to be very frightened by something only he could see. His body was contorted and twitching. It was the worst I have ever seen. Addiction is awful. I worried for his safety. Oh, his poor mother. There were a lot of young unkept able bodied men carrying signs of will work for pot, etc. I found it to be very disheartening.

We had a great time in Denver, but by the end of it all we were ready to go home.