Tag Archives: Utah

It’s been a Heavy Summer

Have I mentioned this summer has been difficult to blog?

After I had my miscarriage, there was an ill timed pregnancy announcement.  It hurt.

I wanted to make sure I didn’t do something similar here.

There has been a difficult death in the family.  Trying to find humor in life or finding the irony in situations just seemed wrong.  There is no humor or irony in death sometimes.  And I don’t want anyone to think it doesn’t matter by carrying on as if nothing happened.

Because something happened and it was important.

My other problem this summer is due to my desire to write a scathing blog about a couple who divorced their spouses to be together.  I don’t believe in public shaming.  And I know I don’t know the whole story.  I just know the end result and it’s sad.

So many people are affected by two people’s decisions.  Or just one person’s.  It’s been hard to wrap my head around it.

Don’t get me wrong.  We’ve had fun this summer.  We’ve been to camp and seen family and gone swimming and just chilled.

It’s just also been a heavy summer that needed some quiet time.

I think I’ll be grateful for school to start.

When my kids start asking me if I knew Sacagawea when I was a child.

At least Build A Bear wasn't a complete waste.

At least Build A Bear is having a resurgence.

Are There Social Norms for Buying a Gun?

I think I committed a social faux pas.  At the same time, I’ve been watching reruns of House, which may be skewing my level of social acceptability.  If I use House as my baseline, I was as polite as one would be to the Queen.

My husband got some gift certificates to Cabela’s and decided we should get some camping gear and a hunting rifle.  I spent my time looking at Columbia clothing on clearance, but that only lasted about ten minutes.  So I wandered over.

I don’t know much about guns and I generally don’t hang out by them.  I saw some amazing replicas of 1800’s revolvers.  I told my husband a real man would hunt with black powder revolvers while taking the law into his own hands.  He ignored me.

So I looked around a bit.  I saw a couple buying a rifle.  The woman, in a tank top, was leaning over the display case.  I didn’t pay much attention until she turned around and I saw she was breast feeding.

No blanket.  Just sort of out there.  And that’s when I committed the faux pas.  I stared.  I will admit it.  I stared.  I normally don’t pay any attention at all to breast feeding and I have no real opinion about covering up or where you should breast feed.  Do what you think is best, I say.

That being said.

If you choose to breast feed while buying a rifle, I don’t think it’s beyond the scope of imagination to think you’re gonna get a few looks.

Rifle….  Scope….  I don’t know much about guns and yet I just made a HILARIOUS pun.

I think seeing my husband taking down an Elk with one of these would be sexy.  Unless he got gored because of how close he'd have to get to actually hit the elk.

I think seeing my husband taking down an Elk with one of these would be sexy. Unless he got gored because of how close he’d have to get to actually hit the elk.

Jogging Partners

Jogging is getting easier.


While in Utah, I mentioned to my 20-something niece I needed to go jogging and she said she would like to go along the Provo River Trail and I should go with her so we could drop a car off at the bottom and only have to jog one way. I’m all about only jogging one way.

So I put on jogging shorts and a jogging shirt and a compression sleeve because this is Provo after all and fashion counts. I even had my cool triathlon sunglasses on and my Ipod nano with the headphones that are sweat and water proof except the wires are coming out of the protective sleeve so they might not be anything proof and one day electrocute me because I sweat like no other.

And then we went jogging together.

By jogging together, I mean that we were on the same path, except for that parking lot I got lost in, until my niece finished 20 minutes ahead of me and then I was jogging by myself while she walked to her car and had a nice cool drink of ice water.

It was pretty. And it was the farthest I’ve ever gone. But I posted it on Facebook and now my-slightly-older-but-much-more-in-shape cousin who runs-all-the-time said she’d like to run it with me.

I’m going to have to buy a cuter jogging outfit.

NOT Provo worthy

NOT Provo worthy

It’s Not a Coffee Shop, but I Do What I Can

So my goal has been to write but summer is… summer.  I find myself taking my kids all over the place just so I don’t have to hear them say: “I’m bored.”  (And when they do say it I can then rattle off all the places I’ve taken them and then talk about what an amazing mother I am for at least 5 minutes while they have to sit there.)

A few weeks ago I went to Utah to do some school shopping. (A total bust for the boys.  They still only had short sleeve shirts in the stores I visited.  And my 6 year old is still deciding if he’s a size 7 or 8.  I’m hoping he grows the extra half inch, BEFORE I buy pants.)  And we went to Chuckie Cheese and a water park and the new Percy Jackson movie.  I couldn’t do much writing in the movie theater, but I did pretty good at Chuckie Cheese and the water park.

I recommend writing at Chuckie Cheese.  It has unlimited Diet Pepsi.

This would be better proof if the notebook were actually open.

This would be better proof if the notebook were actually open.


Travel Advice

I recently went on a trip.  All by myself.  I didn’t even need an adult chaperone.  And I didn’t have to wear an underage badge pinned to my shirt.

I’ve realized this year that I tend to travel a lot.  I thought I’d pass on some of the immense amount of knowledge I’ve acquired.

Tip #1

Airplanes are chilly.  Socks are a wonderful idea when you are wearing sandals.  I generally wear subtle ones so as not to draw attention to myself.

You may have to look closely.  I swear I'm wearing socks.

You may have to look closely. I swear I’m wearing socks.

Tip #2

Make yourself comfortable.

A wall is technically not furniture so obviously it's ok to put your foot on it.

A wall is technically not furniture so  it’s ok to put your foot on it.

Tip #3

Only rent cars from people who check for dents with the largest possible flashlights available.  But make sure they don’t swing around too fast and dent your rental with the largest available flashlights possible.

(Feel free to caption this yourself)

They don’t sell them.  I asked.




The Universe and Manilow

I’m worried about Barry Manilow.  I think karma may get him.  I’m waiting to hear.

Last time I mentioned a writing retreat I went to.  It was Thursday to Saturday.  I was pretty much in a class or discussing writing.  My friend called me and told me she had 2 free tickets to Barry Manilow.  I had an appointment I was able to switch so I could make it to the concert.  So I just happened to be in the state on the night Barry would be performing; I had free tickets and I was able to go.


So I got in my car and started driving.  It was about an hour drive to the stadium.  I was ten minutes away.  I was making good time.  I was pretending my name was Mandy when my friend texted:

Manilow cancelled.

HE CANCELLED. Five minutes before the doors were to open and he cancelled.

The universe had symbiotically come together to allow me to go to Barry. THE UNIVERSE wanted me to go to Barry Manilow.

And he cancelled.  I’m worried what the universe might do.

I own this but I don't have a matching boa and now I never will.

I own this but I don’t have a matching boa and now I never will.


I just went to a writing retreat.  One of the presenters, Ann Cannon, is a columnist and blogger.  She says that consistency is the key.  I thought I’d try it for a while.  It will be scientific research.
And then I’ll publish it as a thesis
And get an honorary doctorate
And I’ll make everyone call me Doctor Marianne
Or maybe Your Excellency
And I’ll get an endorsement from the Nordstrom Shoe department
And take my family on a Disney Adventure.

This has nothing to do with this post.  But it's really hot right now and this picture is so cool.  I wish I was writing this in a pool.

This has nothing to do with this post. But it’s really hot right now and this picture isn’t. I wish I was writing this in a pool.

And all of this can be mine if I’m consistent.
I guess it would help if I were consistent with blogging…

Arches: the Gateway to Patience

I took my kids to Arches National Park.

Here’s how it went in their words:

We hiked Park Avenue (so named because the red rock is as high as sky scrapers on both sides of the path).  It is down hill at the beginning but flattens out quickly.  The hike is .9 miles one way.  We probably did .75 and turned around due to lack of shade.

10 yr old son:  I like this place way better than New York City.  There are too many people there.

8 yr old daughter:  New York City is WAY better.  I hate this place.  There’s too much sun.

We had water.  I may forget lunch for school but I don't forget water in the desert...

We had water. I may forget lunch for school but I don’t forget water in the desert…

We’re almost back to the car:

8 yr old: I’m gonna die of a heart attack.

She sits down on a rock.  I tell her I’m going to take her picture.  She poses.

We hike The Windows.

Me:  This is Turet Arch.

8 yr old:  It should be called Tiring Arch.

We approach a little hill with slick rock.

8 yr old: We’re going there?

   5 yr old son: Look! No hands!

We go to the visitors center to watch the introductory film so everyone can become Jr. Park rangers.

5 yr old: Is this 3D?

We only hiked Park Avenue and The Windows.  We walked around Balancing Rock and then headed back to Moab.  We went to Milt’s for burgers and shakes, swimming at the pool, and a chuckwagon dinner.  The next day we hiked Delicate Arch.  On the way out of town we drove 3 miles to the middle of nowhere to see fossils still in the rocks.  I almost got stuck in sand.

I asked my kids if they liked the trip.

10 yr old:  I liked the arches.

5 yr old:  I liked the dinosaur fossils.

8 yr old: I liked everything.  Except the hiking.

This is not "almost there."

This is not “almost there.”


I played roulette while in Utah.  You may be thinking: but Utah doesn’t allow gambling.  They do.  You just have to know where and the secret password.  And the password is:

The estimate for your car repairs will be…

Sometimes I honestly feel like the mechanic goes in a back room, spins a wheel, and comes out with my car’s diagnosis.  This trip the estimate was $1500.

It’s my own fault.  I shouldn’t have gone in.  I mean, who cares if the car shakes whenever you brake if you are over 40 mph.  Just because you are going to be driving through three states at 80 mph (I mean 75) and the last hour is through canyons, what was I thinking?

I was thinking realignment for $100.  But I didn’t realize my tires are old and won’t pass safety inspection.  And the front lower control arm bushings is leaking and won’t pass safety inspection.

BUT the jokes on them because Montana doesn’t have a safety inspection.

So I just resurfaced the front brake rotors and left.  We’ll worry about the other stuff when the car starts to shake again.

Going South takes less time. Why is that?

Spring Break Conundrum

It’s 11 am on the day after daylight savings and I haven’t showered yet.  I have done the dishes, though and put some laundry away and now I must pause to go change the laundry so it doesn’t mildew.

Ok, I am back.  Mildew has been averted.  (On this load, at least.)

I have actually done a lot this morning.  I turned in an article to the paper, went through old clothes, put some in the trash, some in the laundry, cleaned the boys’ room, and read seventeen blog posts while watching the PBS special on the Troubadour.  I am amazing.  Today.  Tomorrow, I hope to watch seasons 6 and 7 of Beverly Hills while teaching my 3 year old how to feed me grapes and bon-bons.

My thoughts today turn toward that wonderful week in Spring adeptly labeled “Spring Break.”  I am trying to figure out what to do for it.  I have planned, and almost always plan, on spending this week in Utah so my kids get to visit their grandparents and I get to see Juan, the greatest hair stylist on the planet, and this year the plan is to buy a car.  (The selection in town is not to my liking.)

I thought of staying at a hotel one night to use the pool and Utah has fun things like dinosaur museums, amusement parks, and In and Out Burger and Juan.  I usually go and buy the kids summer clothes and see a few friends.

But this year, I don’t wanna.  I want to pack my three children up, drive two hours to Missoula to take the Allegiant Air flight to LA.  Once I get there, I want to rent a car and drive to Carlsbad.  I then want to spend a day at Legoland.  The next morning I want to drive down to San Diego and go to the zoo.  Then I want to go to the other half of the zoo.  Then I want to go swimming and then I will drive three hours back to LA to get on an airplane to then drive two hours back home.

Why, dear readers, do I want to do this?  That sounds HORRIBLE.  I will be alone with my three kids who get on each others nerves for the four hours they are together at the end of school until bed time.  I will get no sleep and my patience will be out the window.  Kevin thinks we should do those things as a FAMILY (meaning he wants to go, but is working.)

But I really want to go to CA because it is the land of milk and honey and dreams and it sounds so nice until I get there and have to drive in the traffic and tell the kids to shut up while I figure out which exit is ours and try and find a hotel and then figure out what to do when one kid wants to swim, one kid is asleep in the back seat and one kid is hungry.

Last time we went to Legoland James found a lizard and then cried for an hour when it ran away. And I want to do it again...

Do you ever have ideas you know won’t work and that you shouldn’t do but you can’t give them up and you will probably do them?