news of the wEiRd

This week in the news, a man went missing from a Denver Broncos game. I followed the story from a few days ago when he was missing to when he was found. He was a rural rancher guy at his first pro football game; considering his size, the likelihood of an abduction seemed improbable. I hope the story works out for the family and the guy doesn’t have Alzheimer’s or something. However, once upon a time, when I was living in Russia my friend invited me to visit his hometown to meet his family. It was a great adventure of about 4 days. A few days in the trip, we were to go to his family dacha. ( cabin ) The building was an A frame cabin with kitchen and living quarters on the bottom and beds upstairs. Not long after we arrived, I needed to use the outhouse. As we have a rustic cabin and a very historic outhouse in my family, it wasn’t weird at all. Upon exiting, the weather was nice and I, completely without thinking, decided to go on walk about. I passed one old fellow wearing his valenki ( Russian peasant boots ) probably said a quick greeting and continued on my way. I continued past the other cabins into a forest. The forest wasn’t very big and on the other side of it was a field. It was around May of ’94 and so the dirt was in huge clods probably being prepped for planting. I sat down in the field and reveled in the peace of my surroundings and I was in fact meditating in complete solitude. I was out of the big city and I felt perhaps a bit like I was home. Frankly, I had reached nirvana. Eventually, I decided to head back where I came from to discover my friend beside himself with panic about where I was. It was then that I apologized and said I’d gone out for a walk, to a place where no Western feet had ever trod and probably not since. After his joy of finding me alive and well, he was quite angry. I started to feel bad, but I had lost complete control of reality. It didn’t ever cross my mind that I had up and left not letting anyone know. I was a walker and I’d taken off completely oblivious to time or potential fallout. Had we not been in a rural place in another country, an amber alert would have been issued. He forgave me because it was a party night that night and he would be highly intoxicated within a few hours and the spirits would wipe the slate clean for him.  Anyway, several months ago this “episode” I had came back to my memory. It was a terrible thing to put someone through and I had no care in the world. I guess it boils down to the freer spirit of a rural mind. Thank goodness for forgiveness. I hope the outcome is alright for the Colorado man.

Russkaya Dacha (photo from the internet)

Russkaya Dacha (photo from the internet)


Yesterday, I was passing through the city so I decided to go park and hit the Goodwill. I moved to the Portland, Oregon area 7 years ago where shopping at the Goodwill isn’t weird at all. They take amazing pride in some of the Goodwill building structures and the displays within the stores. It didn’t even take terrible economic conditions for me to realize it’s a cool place where you sometimes find the best treasures. In fact, I even shopped once at the same time as a guy driving a Ferrari. 2nd hand in PDX has probably always been considered cool. So, yesterday at the Goodwill on 10th the workers were talking about Bill Nye the Science Guy and Patrick Stewart being in town filming a movie. They were pretty excited about that. I was entertained by their enthusiasm. Also noteworthy was that there is now a security guard at my favorite Goodwill. Afterwards, the weather was nice so I opted to stroll around the city.

Are you insured?

The movie 127 hours starring James Franco was set in Utah. While I have never had to cut my arm off from my hiking escapades, I grew up within a 1 minute walk to red rocks in the same state. Once upon a time, I decided to climb the face of a small mountain in the back of my house and at once near the top, some rocks broke off and crashed down upon my knees. I stood stunned, the other side of the hill was a mere 20 feet away and getting up over it to then walk home would be the quickest, but at that moment I wasn’t sure if I’d make it. Another thing, I had no cell phone. I don’t mean that I didn’t have it with me, I mean it was in another time; it was an off the grid time. I managed to limp home and recover, but I never hiked the face of that ugly lesser mountain again or before. I always loved taking off to the red rocks behind my house whether it was for walking, hiking, or biking. In 1940, my mother’s brother fell off a cliff and died as a child hiking with his brothers in the area. Thus, I was never unaware of the peril’s of nature; however, I didn’t choose to watch 127 hours as I figured I couldn’t exactly stomach it. So, while this Ebola crisis has gotten me all nervous about trekking, the realities are when you travel with 5, inconveniences can easily occur. It can be as simple as stepping off a curb and twisting an ankle to wreak havoc on a good plan to something more serious and potentially financially ruinous. I am a believer in medical insurance. So while I always have insurance within the USA, I wanted to be clear on preparing ourselves to catch something like Ebola when we’re away, despite being confident it wouldn’t likely ever happen. I don’t really want to survive Ebola only to be reminded of it when I pay my bills for life. Therefore, I opted for a travel medical insurance. I managed to get coverage for the time frame needed for a reasonable price with real peace of mind coverage. It even offered a discount for 5 so for once it was convenient traveling with an entourage.


Sign I digitally altered above Brianhead, Utah

Sign of a photograph I took and digitally altered from a snow mobile trail above Brian Head, Utah.

I trace my Utah roots to the 1847 Mormon pioneers. Yes, they walked across a great part of the United States into what was then Mexico to escape religious persecution. 1847 marks the first year of the arrival of the first Mormon settlers in what would later become the State of Utah. Along with that pioneer heritage, I am linked to a different kind of Utah history; before I could even ride a bicycle, I was a skier. I can remember the day I learned how to ride a bike, but it was well after I skied. I was raised on a mountaintop, but not in Tennessee. My uncle started a ski resort in the sixties in Utah. Before that, he lived and worked in Garmisch, Germany and caught the “ski bug.” That illuminated a passion inside him to build a ski resort. With the help of colleague investors from Southern California, after he returned back stateside, and much research; he built a ski resort in Southern Utah’s high mountain desert. It would be .It was not a dream easily achieved, but eventually it became a very popular family ski resort destination. I came along in the seventies and grew up as a weekend adventurer as his sidekick driving to the mountain. He worked; I played. Occasionally, I would ski with my older brother, but a lot of time I was left to my own devices and I raised myself in the wild. I skied solo through blizzards and sunny days at pretty high elevation. “Utah’s Highest Resort” Children of today don’t even play much outside of the virtual world, but there is nothing like the crisp way the wind blows at your face as you descend a mountain at a rapid speed in beautiful, glorious nature on skis. A few days ago while following the on facebook, I discovered that they have a “Utah Ski Archives”  for ski artifacts to preserve Utah’s tourism history. This is great as my uncle is still alive, sharp as a tack in his eighties, and in possession of many things. He is one of Utah’s ski pioneers and unlike the rest of his predecessors, he is alive.

My grandfather and father at Brian Head, Utah circa '69.

My grandfather and father at Brian Head, Utah circa ’69.

EUROPE fare deal….

I have been finding incredible flight deals for years. My ultimate score was a $200 flight SLC-CDG in 2002 on . It wasn’t a convenient time for me to fly back to my beloved second homeland of La France so I didn’t bite.  To date, it was my most exciting find, but I find exciting flight deals a lot. I can’t actually take advantage of all that many with a life and all, but there are endless deals. Currently, I like to search flights on , , , , and The key to getting where you want to go for much less is flexibility. I want to go to Honolulu for Christmas holiday. Today’s interesting deal of the day is SFO-DUB for $467.00. Sometimes, it isn’t so bad on the pocketbook to live in San Francisco. Just don’t be insistent on finding your ideal departure or destination airport, but those obstacles can be overcome; and, don’t forget to collect the miles when you fly. The walking possibilities at destination are endless.

mission trip….

Tonight I was able to hear about some personal stories of 2 girls from my church talk about their “mission trips.” This was a great! First of all, I had never heard of an LDS “mission trip.” Officially they are not affiliated with the faith, but run by some church members. We have a “mission” and it is an entirely different beast. I was an LDS missionary in Belgium, Brussels and the area of service was also located in Northern to Eastern France, Francophone Belgium, and Luxembourg. Mission trips, on the other hand, are what a lot of the other Christian faith youth do and they seem like really cool experiences. They sound like they must be very faith promoting and service oriented expeditions. Anyway, this is a great thing which now can exist for LDS youth.

Flu shot

Yesterday, we were at the doc’s office for check-ups on a no school day. They were already doing flu shots for the season so I signed us up since it was already on the to do list. As a child, I got the flu many times rather bad. (Like a week in bed and out of school bad) My grandfather was raised by his grandma because his dad died of the Spanish flu. I’m not quite sure where his mom was. This was in very rural Utah so that epidemic obviously traveled to even remote areas. As an adult, I have generally made it a priority to get flu shots for my family. I have a big adventure on the horizon and I often suffer from mild anxiety that I’ll be sick for a big trek. I’m actually rather healthy, knock on wood, but I always get a little nervous. There is now an added stressor, but a blessing of friends meeting up with us. I wouldn’t want anything to go wrong. There will be 100% chance of jet lag, which actually made me feel mildly fluish earlier this year so no room for something else in that equation. There are 5 of us who need to remain well and since they are a family of 4 that makes 9 people who need to travel to meet and remain healthy at just the right epic moment for a reunion. The news of the day doesn’t help much. Ebola killing people and haz mat teams coming on airplanes. I’m far from the epicenter of the news, but we’ll soon be a lot closer and with air travel it’s a really small world, plus you never know where the people you share air with have been. Anyway, my arm is sore today, but I’ve survived enough bad bouts of influenza to know that I can do one small thing to up our chances of being as healthy as we can be.

Life skills in the modern society

Today on facebook, I came across a picture of a heavy woman holding 2 children. The caption said: “I’m too poor to be healthy.If I was well off, I’d be able to buy fresh food and afford a gym membership.”  My father grew up post depression and he was skinny and likely often hungry because he grew up in a time of great want. He was just one of 7 mouths to feed from a hard working barely making it family. My own mother put healthy food on the table for us and used to calculate that it cost about .25 cents to make a loaf of bread in the eighties. I’d wager it doesn’t cost me that much more today, but my bread never comes out quite as tasty. We grew up on homemade food; most of it was bought, in the summer some of it we grew, and most of our meat came from the local butcher. As a person who made a choice to stay home and raise my children, I have a lot of personal experience cooking my own food and eating it. What is lacking today is the foundation and know how of healthy cooking. People have lost the skills of self reliance. The schools need to offer cooking and nutrition classes, not just “improve” the lunch menu offerings. I got these skills at home, but most people aren’t getting that anymore and they sorely need it. As for the gym pass, the true ROI comes from the working out and nobody needs a gym for that. I have walked in urban locations, suburban locations, rural towns, and mountains all alone. A gym pass is NOT a prerequisite for fitness. #walk #hike #bike or any other type of movement.

3 free nights with SPG

Just booked my 3 free nights from the stay 3 get 3 promo. We’ll be in a category 5 hotel. There are some AMAZING hotels on the list as it goes up to SPG category 6 level, but we won’t be conveniently near any of those locations and the 3 free nights expire on 12/31/14 so it isn’t possible to hold onto them for a fantastic redemption. The promo worked for our family though since I already had some SPG stays planned at a category 5 resort. I just will be getting them cheaper. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

What’s on your list?

Last night, I found a blog that called the bucket list a life list. In 2012, we met my parents in Boston for an East Coast trip. 2 of my 3 children were born in Pennsylvania, but we left back westward when the 3rd and last was only 10 months old; and my mother had really loved the fall foliage back East, so I told her we’d see the fall foliage as it was to be in early October. I had visited Boston a few years earlier on my own, but I’d always had an interest in Salem, Massachusetts. So, we stayed north of the city in Peabody, Massachusetts. It was in close proximity to many of our interests. The month of October for Salem has a calendar of Halloween events and we were to be there for the town Halloween parade. It was at night, but I really wanted to attend. We did and it was so fun. After, we ate in a restaurant/bar place with a stage and the restaurant had a very fun ambiance like Disneyland we all agreed. Lots of fun and a great trip with children. My husband opted out of the trip and ironically ended up going on a few business trips right in the same vicinity the next fall. I guess you could say that Salem, Massachusetts made it to my childhood list. I have always enjoyed whimsical Halloween, but I don’t care for scary or inappropriate (#sexy) Halloween and the Salem witch trials always thrilled me. Not enough to study intensely about them, but enough to always be intrigued by the venue. As one can imagine, it is a great and popular October destination, but we were there at the first of the month so we were the only tourists at the hometown parade I think. At one point on the trip, my father was speaking to someone at home on a cell phone or someone he had met and was chatting with and said: it was a bucket list trip. Well, my dad was knocking on seventies’ door at the time and it still shocked me that it was time for him to be referring to such things in such terms. It was also obvious by the way he spent a large part of the trip in the car and opted out of many nationally important tourist sites we’d never visited that it would indeed be a trip that could fit into a bucket list trip for him. As for myself, I am knocking at forties’ door and I’m not ready to consider a bucket list. Then, last night I found a blog refer to it as a LIFE LIST. I don’t actually have one as I’m not much of a list maker, but I far preferred that term for my age bracket. My list is in my head and it is ever changing and evolving based upon deals.