A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Sunday, August 16, 2015


I leave tomorrow for California.  As always, it's hard to leave.  I think it's harder to leave this time because it will be nearly a year before I can enjoy another extended visit.

A friend asked for an update.  She knows the last year has been difficult, and asked for some reassurance that I was getting some restorative relaxation.  I could have posted on facebook, but decided to put it here.   I know she visits, as do other friends and family, so I can update you all at the same time.

First, I made a mistake when I planned the trip.  I was so  anxious to get here that I decided to do it in one day.  Over 800 miles.  Because my eye is still not 100% I was determined to get to Eden before sundown.  I trucked it.  I stopped only for gas and potty breaks.  No quilt shops, honest!  And for most of the length of Utah on the 15 the speed limit is either 75 or 80 mph, and I took full advantage.  Still, the sun was setting as  I hit Provo Canyon and by the time I got to Coalville not only was it twilight, but I had driven into a nasty storm. 

Thunder, lightning and truly torrential rain all of a sudden.  Traffic got slower and slower.  I could see nothing except a wall of water and hail and two red tail lights ahead.  They found the Coalville exit and I followed them off, taking refuge in a Subway.  My knees were shaking as I thought, "The locals must get used to this."  But as I ordered a sandwich, I realized that a river was flowing from behind the counter to the front door and the counter help couldn't get an order right because they were bug-eyed, watching water pour out of the sky.

As quickly as it hit, it was over.  By the time my [inedible] sandwich was done, the rain was a gentle drizzle.  It still was not full dark so I decided to hightail it out.  I knew I still  had about 45 minutes to travel until I got "home," and just hoped the storm didn't cycle around as they do in SoCA.  The drizzle got heavy a couple of times, but nothing to strike terror like the downpour in Coalville.

One cool thing?  This entire part of the trip is on the other side of the Wasatch range that runs behind the Utah towns from Provo to Ogden.  So, the clouds were reflecting the city lights the whole way, shining silver up above.  It was dark, but not the pitch black I had dreaded.  The only slightly scary part of the rest of the trip was when I got to the top of the mountain near Snowbasin and drove into another cloud. Visibility stayed good, and fifteen minutes later I was letting myself into my home away from home.  I didn't even stop for groceries and didn't unload the car.  Just fell into bed.  The next day was lovely, sunny and DRY and I took care of business, including a trip to the market, then tucked in for a long day of listening to the quiet between naps.

By Sunday I was feeling human again and called my friend who I've known for 44 years.  Her son is the favorite developer in the Ogden Valley and we bought my condo from him in 2002.  As it turned out, she had a lunch date with a new friend and invited me to join them.  The new friend, I learned over a delicious lunch at Roosters on old 25th Street, is as into woowoo as I am.  We exchanged contact information and parted buddies.

Still weary from the trip up, I settled in at my condo for the afternoon and evening.  Getting toward evening another storm hit.  This one wasn't nearly as scary.  I was, after all, tucked in safely, not trying to negotiate a mountain road at 65 mph next to semi trucks in no visibility.

If I made any other mistake this trip, it was to do too much gallivanting around.  I had a couple of stores I love that I wanted to check in with.  I took as long as I wanted to wander a crafts/gift store called the Quilted Bear, where I found some darling silver charms for some sewing projects and some fantastic Halloween decorations.  This year (and I always get something there) I got some black branches covered with orange jack-o-lantern bells. They reminded me of the tree in Frontierland in Disneyland that is covered with Jacks at HalloweenTime.  I only got one branch but once I got them home and started to build the fantasy of how I would use them, I realized I wanted a couple more.  Later in the week I headed to the Costco across the street and took advantage of being on that side of town to stop by and pick up a couple more branches. 

I also made some pointless stops to try to stock the condo.  I hate my sheets, and wanted some flannel.  I mean, it's Utah, right?   Winter is coming.  Not only did BB&B not have cheap flannel (like Simi does), they didn't have ANY flannel.  I made out better at Target, which at least had the power strip and extension cord I wanted. 

As far as relaxing, I spent some time (not enough) adding some embroidery (not enough) to my long-term quilt project.   I worked a couple of crossword puzzles and did no reading.  I kept facebook up, played Maleficent free fall and ate so much chocolate that not only do I feel poisoned, I smell like cocoa.  Not exaggerating.

I also spent too much time looking for good memories of the times here with my husband.  I wish I could say that I made some connections, but I did not.  In fact, I spent six hours yesterday scrubbing the stove, which kept me in a rage most of the day.  In 13 years I have used the oven once - to bake cookies, not usually a messy food to make.  And yet I gave up a day of vacation to scrub burned-on schmutz off oven racks, oven sides and bottom and burners, as well as cleaning the microwave vents while cleaning that device.  Apparently every time he brought his friends for their two-week free snowboard vacations, they didn't bother to do more than load the dishwasher.  What a waste of emotion.  It's not like nursing a mad was going to get any help from them.

Enough.  There were some very special high points.

One was the evening I spent with Perseid, which I wrote about in a  previous post.  So peaceful out on the patio that night.  No AC running anywhere so completely silent.  And this valley has a night sky ordinance.  Compared to SoCA, the visible stars here are breathtaking. 

Another was the visit I made with my friend to see her gentleman friend.  I had met him over spring break, and I know they have a very special relationship.  My friend is 76 and I think her GF is in his late 80s. She has never had any intention of re-marrying (her husband died almost 20 years ago), but she and her GF have a relationship of mutual adoration as friends.  When, in his words, he was mobile, the two of them spent a lot of time doing things together.  He told the story of the day they took off for a drive on a whim and  chattered the time away.  Eventually, he told me, he looked down at his odometer and they had driven 287 miles.  "I didn't even let her have a bathroom break!"

He really isn't mobile now.  In fact, we were visiting him while he was having one of his three-times-a-week kidney dialysis sessions.  He doesn't like it - who would? - but what an attitude.  And what a storyteller.  He was telling me about how he and my friend started dating.  They got together for coffee one time, and he was too shy to ask her out again.  Convinced that she lived in the townhouse next to the pool, he took to hanging out at the pool in hopes of running into her.  He said that he would notice people moving around in front of the balcony doors and see wet bathing suits hanging over the railing, but never my friend.  He did this for FIVE YEARS before figuring out that she lived in the next townhouse up the street.

I decided to ask his advice about something very nice - but confusing - that happened for me just a week or so before I left to come here.  One morning Dodger the Doorbell Dog pitched a barking fit.  Figuring someone was at the door, I headed there.  Since there was nobody there, I thought maybe something had been delivered and found a box from an internet florist on the porch.  Since there were no special events at our house, I was sure they'd been delivered by mistake but, no, my name was on the box.  I got it into the kitchen and opened the box.  It was full of orchids!  And I about fell over when I read the card - they were from my next door neighbor, who I haven't had a conversation with in years and years.  Still convinced there was a mistake, I texted him at the number on the box.  He assured me they were for me, and I thanked him for such a lovely gesture.

And haven't heard a thing since.  I mean, do guys really send double orders of orchids (about $100 worth) and then not follow up?  I have no clue.  So I asked my friend's GF what he thought I should do.  He thought a minute, then said, "Oh, just play it cool."  And then belly laughed until he got tears in his eyes and said, "For five years!!!"  He had us all in stitches.  Here he was, hooked to a dialysis machine with his blood flowing through yards of tubing, and laughing at himself until we all had tears.

No wonder she's crazy about him.  Just the kind of special friendship I would love to have.

And now it's time to return to real life.

I came up here for the balloon festival, but it was a disappointment.  I missed the first flight.  In the past I've been able to sit on my balcony and watch the balloons fly by, but didn't see a one on the first morning.  My friend told me they had been there (she lives up the hill from me).  I felt stupid when I figured it out.  In the five years since I was last here, my friend's son had build a new wing of condos that now block my view of the balloon flight.

Not wanting to miss it again, yesterday morning I drove out to my lot.  I was able to sit at the end of the cul-de-sac to see the launch,

then move to sit by the lot and see them float by

After the balloons had left the sky, I set about a task I had promised myself this trip.  This lot of mine is on the market for the third time in five years.  I decided I wanted to gather a box of rocks (there are LOTS of rocks) to use in my garden in California.  I thought maybe I would feel better about the eventual sale if I had a little piece of it to keep.

The asking price is a loss for me, and there has - again - been no interest.  I think I figured out why.  Every vibration I had was screaming MINEMINEMINE!  I simply don't want to sell this beautiful half acre.  I love my teasels and my sunflowers.  I love my rocks.

Lots of rocks.

By the time I had filled my box, I was in tears.  I really don't want to sell this.  I love my lot in the valley I love.  I walked to the south boundary, checking for any more small rocks for my SIL.

And about fell over when I saw it.  In the lower left corner of the photo.   A heart-shaped rock.  It was "too big" for me to lift, but lift it I did, right into my car.

Seated just right in my garden, this will be a treasure.

And so today is my last day.  And the last day of the balloon festival.  I decided to return to the lot and watch the balloons, but there was only one.  I collected a second box of rocks (still not ready to sell) then headed for one of my favorite places in the Valley.

North Arm.

I'm not sure how far I walked.  Comparing it to my walk to work, I'd guess a half mile.  Maybe more.  It's hard to judge when you are not trying to measure in distance but in joy.

Parking lot view across the highway to the mountains.

My teasels are blooming here.

It's an Osprey habitat.  Pineview Reservoir in the background, then the Wasatch.

Yay.  There's drought here, too, so I wasn't sure my favorite little rivulet would be running.
From the bridge over the river.  Running slow but enough to make music.

Impossible to capture how beautiful the trail is.

Amazing what you miss on the way in and catch on the way out.  Gorgeous hops.  Going to have to give my son more garden space for his.  They are doing well, but clearly need room to spread.

So, I'm packed.  The car is almost packed.  Just have to do one load of laundry tomorrow morning (to remake the bed) and pack the leftover food.  Scrub the toilets and put the last of my stuff in the car.  Am doing the return trip a little smarter.  Only going as far as St. George tomorrow (and stopping at my favorite quilt shop) and finishing the trip Tuesday.  Have an early appointment Wednesday in Santa Barbara with my ophthalmologist to (fingers crossed) arrange my lens replacement.  Making two pair of pants for my son and his friend for Burning Man (his first), then working in my classroom Friday, seeing students the following Wednesday.

And another year begins.

Going to try again to leave a little movie.  I want to figure out how to leave it looping and use it as wallpaper.


Stitcher S. said...

Always a pleasure to visit your blog--I am behind in reading blogs. What a post--Utah sounds beautiful. I've only driven through it. A dear friend of mine lives in Eden, and she too was at the balloon festival. "It's a small world," as they say at one of our favorite places.

Von said...

Wow! What a newsy report of your trip to heaven. :) Glad you got there safely and trust you're back in the swing of the new school year. The rocks you brought home will bring back beautiful memories of your special place in Utah.

Thanks for dropping me a note on my blog. All is well with me and mine, just not having much in the way of time or inclination with the changes in our lives here over the last few months. Going back to work has put a dent in my free time. Hugs!!