Sunday, October 29, 2006

End of October

End of October
The sleepy brown woods
Seem to nod down their heads to the winter

A line from a favorite old ('75) song (Old Tennessee) by a favorite old musician of mine(Dan Fogelberg) and such a wonderful description of this time of year!

Saturday was a great weekend to enjoy a last fall hike. As you can see in the pictures, the woods are indeed nodding their heads to the winter. At least I was smart enough to wear hiking shoes, instead of my usual Tevas as the snow level is getting low in the mountains. Daisy and I hiked up Neffs Canyon until the trail was steep and icy enough that I knew I'd be miserable slip sliding my way back down. Daisy loves the snow so it was a great day for her! Neff's is a small canyon at the top of a nearby neighborhood; it leads to the Mt Olympus Wilderness area. Earlier this year I found out an interesting thing about Neff's Canyon. There is a cave up there, somewhere, that for a long time was thought to be America's deepest cave. It seems funny to me that nobody around here seems to know about Neff's Canyon Cave. There is an interesting story on the web about it's exploration. It's now locked up because it's a very dangerous cave. Maybe that's why no one seems to know of it. I'm curious where exactly the entrance is. I't love to peak in, but so far I've not seen sign of it on my hikes!

On Sunday we took our traditional pumpkin picking pilgimage. We head up north, stop at Jeremiahs in Ogden for breakfast (Voted Best Breakfast in Utah), head to Crystal Hot Springs for a nice soak, then stop at one of the farm stands along Fruit Way . The kids aren't so hip on this tradition any more, probably because it's a long drive, about 60 miles, to the hot springs, and takes most of the day, and they would rather be hanging around with their friends. I'm just glad that they humored me one more time; Matt's a senior this year so it may be the last family fall pumpkin pilgrimage. Breakfast was yummy, the hot springs delightful, and this year, probably because it's two days before Halloween, the pumpkins puny!

My husband Bob, my son Matt, daughter Sarah (in the middle) and her friend Neeka Pickin' Puny Pumpkins!

The pools at Crystal Hot Springs.

Man made pools, but it's a natural hot spring, which in addition to many other minerals has a high lithium content. I've always wondered if soaking there is fun way to self medicate undiagnosed manic depression! Maybe that's why the water feels so good!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I think I'll be a teenager when I grow up.

Ever notice how teenagers don't bother to dress appropriately for the weather? There can be a raging snowstorm going on and all the kids at my daughter bus stop will be standing outside in sweatshirts. I swear the boys wear shorts, and girls wear flip flops, all through the winter.
This morning I overslept. My new alarm clock and I simply aren't getting along. I was in a big hurry so I took the worlds fastest shower and pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. No time to rummage in the sock drawer, so I threw on a pair of sandals. Heck, the kids wear flipflops all the time. After all, it has been cool in the mornings, but warming up nicely in the afternoon. Except today. It was extra cold this morning. Wintery cold. On my way to work it started to rain. The wind started blowing. By the time I walked from my parking place to my building my cold, wet toes were frozen. I guess I picked a bad day to pretend I was a teenager again by wearing inappropriate footwear. I'm sure the teens would have found my footwear really inappropriate, because I was wearing Birkenstock style sandals. I don't think they even begin to qualify as "cute" in my 14 yo daughters eyes. By the time I left work the rain had stopped... and it had started snowing! Cold toes again. So when you see those scantily clad kids outside in the winter and think "God, they must be stupid to dress that way", you're probably correct. I learned my lesson, I don't think I'm going to pretend I'm a teenager anymore. It's midnight and there's an inch of snow on gound now- I'll at least have to wear socks with my sandals tomorrow!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Rustbelt

Just one more picture from my Ohio trip. I mentioned the rustbelt in my previous post. Here's a "rusty" picture from Hamilton, Ohio. Hamilton is a perfect example of an Ohio rustbelt town; once a prosperous industrial city (mostly papermills), it is now for the most part, just another sad, decaying Ohio town. I have no idea what purpose all the brightly colored barrels had in their "real" life, but I found their contrast with the rusty old contents of this scrapyard interesting. Kind of a "Carnival of Junk", a bright spot amidst the urban decay.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Acton Lake at Ohio's Hueston Woods State Park

I’m not sure why, but after I returned from my trip back “home” to Ohio I spent time contemplating the differences between the two places I call home; Cincinnati, where I used to live and Salt Lake City, where I now reside. Maybe it’s because my kids really noticed the differences: the lack of mountains in Ohio, the greenness of Ohio, that the big deciduous trees whose leaves were changing from green to the lovely shades of autumn are so much different in Ohio. There were also odd things my kids noticed. My son (age 17) thought there were lots of rednecks in Ohio, and my daughter (age 14) found kids in Ohio very unfashionable.

Having lived in the suburbs in both places I can say that suburbs are suburbs, it's when you leave the ‘burbs that things are most different to me. The southwest Ohio countryside is full of rolling hills, farmland and deciduous forest dotted with quaint old towns and idyllic barns and pastures. Around Salt Lake you travel through barren rangeland, covered in sagebrush and grazed by cows, antelope and deer; or you find yourself in breathtaking mountain wilderness areas. A little longer drive lands you in the amazing rocky canyons and deserts of southern Utah. Ohio has the pastoral countryside, Utah the rugged wilderness. Different in many ways, but I honestly love them both.

A weird thing happened to me the other night. I stopped at the library to find a "how to pick a college" book for my son. I’m standing in the stacks looking for the book, and when I turn to leave I spy a book on the shelf directly behind me. The word "Cincinnati" caught my eye. The title of the book was “The Cincinnati Arch: Learning from Nature in the City”. I was surprised to see Cincinnati in the title of a book at the Salt Lake County library and after returning from Cincinnati just a few days before it really piqued my interest. The book is about a wilderness lover who finds himself stuck living in the rust belt city of Cincinnati. It’s not a novel, but more of introspective, philosophical narrative about the author, John Tallmadge’s, experience as he learns to live in the city and contemplate his love for wilderness from an urban perspective. If reading about his experiences in my old hometown wasn’t interesting enough, it turns out he had lived in Utah for a number of years while he was a professor at the University of Utah (where I work) . Sections of the book describe some of his Utah wilderness experiences. Being a nature and wilderness lover myself, and having experienced many of the places he describes, I’ve really enjoyed this book.

It also makes me wonder about what I call weird cosmic experiences; those odd times when the stars and the moon seem to align in a meaningful away. I hadn’t been to the library in months. What is the probability that I would stop at the library, and just happen upon a book that chronicles experiences in two places I call home, at a time when I was pondering my life experiences in both those places? Crazy how life works sometimes!!

The photo of the Great Egret was also taken at Acton Lake. A little blurry perhaps, but not to bad for a quick snapshot with my tiny pocket camera!

Monday, October 16, 2006

More from my trip...

More from my Ohio trip. I love weird road art! As we drove through the historic Village of Glendale we came a cross this giant squirrel, then another, and another. I love stumbling upon art in odd places, so I have to admit that I was a tad disappointed that this was another one of those city wide art projects and not just the work of some artsy person who wanted a giant squirrel in their yard. I decided I was more impressed when I read that squirrels have a little bit of history in Glendale. Besides the standard gray squirrels they have black squirrels, all descendents of a couple of imported breeding pairs imported in the ‘40s. I never saw the black ones but I saw many of the big decorated ones. I thought they seemed kind of comical in their “old fashioned” setting.

Glendale is tiny “town “ in the northern Cincinnati ‘burbs that’s actually a national historic landmark. I like driving through it because it’s a very quaint old town with lots of old homes and interesting architecture. I really like the “oldness” that can be found back in Ohio, Utah is such a young state, with a young population; it is very different from the Cincinnati area.

The “youth” of the population in my home state was recently pointed out to me. A couple of weeks ago my beadmaker friend Rosemarie Hanus was in Salt Lake on business. One of the first things she said to me when we met was “Where are the old people?” It seemed like an odd question, but after a week in Ohio I really saw what she meant. I work at a university and have teenagers, so I have a lot of young people in my life. But when you’re out and about you run in to many young families with a couple (or ton) of kids, or young “recreationalists” out biking or running. When we attend the local concert and festivals, at age 45 we definitely feel like we’re the old folks. But when I spent time at the Tall Stacks Festival in Cincinnati I didn’t feel like an old fart at all; there were tons of (*gulp*) middle aged couples, just like my husband and I, strolling about. The little cafe in my brother’s small town was full of grandfatherly looking farmers. There were plenty of “old people” everyplace we went. Rosemarie was right, it is different where I live.

More squirrels... when we were in Columbus we saw this cool albino squirrel!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Weird coincidences...

I went down to departmental coffee hour today, and chatted for a minute with a couple of the women in the department. I mentioned that I had been on vacation and the asked where. I said Ohio and they asked where again. I said I was from Cincinnati and then they BOTH chimed in, at the same time "me too"! They had both lived not to far from where I lived growing up. I never knew I had two fellow Ohio refugees right in my midst.

Back in GC!

I just returned from a trip back to GC, or “Gods Country” as we call Ohio, where I spent the week visiting family. As much as I love living out west (I’ve lived in Utah for more than 20 years now) there are things I really miss about SW Ohio. Like the countryside, the farms, the deciduous trees, the “oldness” of things if that makes sense. Utah is a very “new”state; there just isn’t as much old stuff where I live, so I really enjoy the old architecture, and old historic towns of Ohio.

It was actually a glorious week, beautiful fall weather, the kind of days that make me wish I still lived there. OK, not really, as I know for every beautiful, blue skied, fall week there are many weeks of ridiculously hot and humid summer days, and cold and dreary, snow-less winter ones.

In addition to fall being the prettiest time to visit Ohio, we picked this weekend because it was the weekend of the Tall Stacks Festival in Cincinnati, which gave us something interesting to do while visiting the family. Tall Stacks is a big festival celebrating Cincinnati’s heritage as a river town. Riverboats from around the country line up along the shores of the Ohio, and you can take cruises out on the river. We took a lovely little cruise, it was nice to see the city from the river, and neat to see all the river boats.

The Public Landing
See the tiny people on the top of purple bridge?... for $39.95 you can don a silly purple suit and "climb" the
Purple People Bridge... seems kind of like a tourist trap to me! I'll stick with the free stroll across the bottom!

That's my brother in law, AKA Uncle Gary, in the hat!
The Cincinnati skyline from the river- this is a bit weird too me, since it has changed so much since I lived there... the big black building is "new" as is the ball field. But still a nice skyline over the water.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


My burning question for the day is: Who came up with silly idea that beads should have names?!
I’ve been trying to put together a submission for the Bead Review 2006, and one of things they ask for is the name of your bead. I pretty much never name my beads. Once in a while, and by once in a while I mean maybe once or perhaps twice a year, a bead decides it wants a name, and lets me know what to call it. I really struggle with this name business. So yesterday I brought some bead pictures to work and asked some of my friends for name suggestions. For the most part they stared blankly at my computer, probably wondering why in the world anyone would want to name beads, and probably thinking I’d become an eccentric old lady who kept beads for pets or something. All except for my friend Carol, who in a matter of seconds, spouted off perfect names for nearly all my beads. How the heck did she do that? I created those beady babies and had no idea what to call them. I think I may make Carol my official bead namer. It sure is nice to get a little help from your friends!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Isn't fall wonderfull?

It was a glorious fall day today so my dog Daisy and I headed up Millcreek Canyon for a hike. Here are some shots from the Elbow Fork trail that heads towards Lambs Canyon. It was one of those days where it was hard to decide when to turn around... when the water bottle was near gone, the camera battery dead or the dog looked thirsty or tired. To be honest, Daisy loves to hike with me, but doesn't understand why we always hike up and up, when all the good action is at the bottom where she can frolic in the creek. We eventually found ourselfs atop a rocky knob with great views across Millcreek Canyon to the south and of Mt. Aire to the northwest. The trail headed down from there so it seemed like the "end" so we turned around and headed back. I'm guessing the high point was a mile and half or so up the trail. I do mean up! A Millcreek hike is always great exercise as it's up, up, up, then down, down down. A little work but wonderful scenery every step. The aspens and scub oaks were gorgeous today!