Thursday, April 30, 2009


Sorry, blog stalkers, no post for today, well, except for this apology post. I know, I'm like clockwork over here, that is if your clock is a sundial: Mondays and Thursdays, with the occasional bonus post. But I'm in kind of a funk and I don't like to post "Rant" blogs although I know I am guilty of that on occasion.

So go listen to some music or skip on over to another blog or talk amongst yourselves. I have to work tonight and maybe something will happen that's post worthy. In the mean time, have a great day, and be excellent to each other.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Construction Season

It's been a year round thing here in Salt Lake, the rebuilding of downtown has been an ongoing project for a while now.

They demolished the mall across from South Gate and are in the process of building an even bigger and better one. Or so they tell us. You can take a look at what they have planned here, and judge for yourself.

In the mean time we, along with the thousands of motorists and pedestrians who converge on the downtown area daily, are saddled with the inconvenience, noise and disruption that all the construction entails.

For example, this is the view from where we stage. For almost three years now we've had no streetlights on "our" side of South Temple. This is rather inconvenient for us; it makes filling out a credit card slip at night downright challenging. It also has reduced the amount of foot traffic we used to get from people wandering out of the mall.

Now, to further amp up the chaotic atmosphere, the church has decided to make improvements to the pavement in front of the south entrance to Temple Square. I've been told that this project is scheduled to run until August.

So, may I suggest that the next time you decide to visit you wear a hard hat. I expect Marky-Mark will figure out a way to fashion one for Rex.

I worked Saturday. Ro gave me a wedding at 1:30, the pickup was at West Gate and I was to drop them off at the Cathedral of the Madeline.

Tony looked fabulous, as usual, and the Tulips are in bloom. I left my "good" camera at home because the battery needed charging and grabbed my next best one which is a combo camera/digital recorder.

I would have liked to have gotten more pictures of the tulips but I ran out of memory.


I work Thursday night so I guess I'll get more shots then.

The bride and her father were late, but that's not unusual. They arrive at 1:38 and she said "We're supposed to be there by 2:00."

From West Gates, taking North Temple to avoid the construction, the distance is 6 ½ blocks. Let's see, at an average of five minutes per block…

Sure, my horse and carriage doubles as a rocket car…

I replied "Well, I'll do the best I can, but it's not like they'll start without you."

We did make it, just in time, Not only that but because it wasn't raining I left the top down. And we lucked out— it didn't begin raining until after I dropped the Bride and her father off and was halfway to South Gate. Then it rained on and off all afternoon and evening. Spring in Utah…yay.

I don't mind going out for early appointments— if you're lucky the extra time on the street gives you a slight advantage over the other drivers. In my case, between the wedding and the time the other drivers arrived at SG, I hooked one ride, so my advantage wasn't that huge overall, but I was still barn high because of RPRT.

The biggest disadvantage of being out early is you are almost always alone, which means the support system we rely on, the other drivers, is absent.

What this translates to is this: No potty break for you!

But Kar, also known as "BB, Darwin's Satanic Imp", stopped by before she went to the barn and spotted me for a pee, which was good because I'd gone out drinking Friday night with former slave drivers Wease, ~A~, Bill, and had consumed copious amounts of coffee all morning.

Anyway, what that brings me to is this:

Our little tribe wishing ~A~ a fond farewell at Murphy's Social Club, as she starts her new adventures living la vida loca in Las Vegas.

Obviously, there is a reason why we encourage the tourists to take photos of the horses, not the drivers...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Firefly", Stan and the New Girl

I'm watching all the episodes of "Firefly". I love Nathan Fillion and one of the writers at the retreat recommended it for the stories and dialogue, so when I saw the entire 14 episodes at Sam's Club for $18.88, I purchased it because I'm too lazy to hunt it down at Blockbuster. Plus I gave Adam Baldwin a carriage ride a while back and was shamed because I couldn't remember his name or the work he's done, except "My Bodyguard" which was made a jillion years ago, and probably directed by Cecil B. DeMille. And of course "Independence Day" and "Chuck".

My favorite line so far;

"If you take sexual advantage of her you will burn in a special level of hell reserved for child molesters…and people who talk in the theater."

It has an ensemble cast, which my WIP has. So the interaction between the characters is important. Plus, as the writer told me, it has horses in it.

Horses, yay!

Anyway, my friend ~A~ and I went to see Dreamer and Stan yesterday. There was also a new girl at the barn, and she's a beauty. ~A~ and her hit it off right away.
And like I said yesterday, I love the babies.

~A~ brushed Dreamer while I took pictures of Stan and checked his progress.

It appeared to me that he looks smaller and less oozy/angry. The swelling caused by the freezing treatment we had initially began has reduced a bit, so now we are dealing with the crusty yucky skin.

So the Xxterra appears to be doing some good. Next we moved on to the Formulin. Apparently it stings, because after I tried to apply it to the back of Dreamer's leg, he proceeded to smoosh me between his body and the fence, causing me to spill Formulin on my hands and arms. Not only does it sting, it also smells. Real bad. So I can understand why he's not too happy about having it applied.

So from now on, it's Xxterra all the way. Because I can't take another Formulin bath again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Promised, I Delivered...

I promised more photos on Monday. Now, I know you've heard from me that I'm not particularly fond of children, yet I have one of my own. Well, I don't like other people's children, but I do like mine.

No offence, just not enamored. Last night at my kid's Honors Band concert I was stuck sitting next to a little boy who alternately coughed on me, farted, and played his Nintendo DS for two hours.


Needless to say I was in Heaven.

However, I love babies, as long as they are not the human kind. The only thing I miss about our farm in Missouri is the animal babies. This being spring, Doree and I were surrounded by calves as we made our way to the lodge

I thought this little man was cute, being he had that piece of grass hanging out of his mouth. His demeanor was rather tough, sauntering in front of us without a care, acting like he owned the road. And he does, for now.

Until next fall, when he's relocated to my freezer.

These were the only horses I saw, but I also didn't take a trail ride. I was, after all, supposed to be focusing on writing, not riding.

Monday, April 20, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

The Utah Romance Writer's retreat I went on this weekend was lovely. Hidden Springs Resort is a beautiful venue; a rustic lodge surrounded by acres of cow pasture and rolling hills.

The company was interesting. Getting together with a bunch of writers was fun, and the conversations lively and entertaining.

Several of the women are going to a workshop featuring Bob Mayer and Margie Lawson. I told them to tell Bob that Slave Driver said "Hi," I met him last year at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and I occasionally comment on his blog, not so much recently because he changed the format and it's all about his upcoming Who Dares Wins book and I'd rather talk about his fiction, either alone or co-written with Jennifer Crusie. But life is all about flux and you have to roll with the changes.

I've lived here in Utah for five years now, and have never driven out that particular direction. It was almost 150 miles one way, and Doree and & took my Jeep Wrangler which, while not the most quiet or luxurious ride, was a good choice once we hit the dirt road to get to the lodge.
I had the soft top on the Jeep, and apologized to Doree for the noisiness. She stated that her Minivan wasn't much better.

I replied, "Well, at least your windows don't flap."

She conceded I had her there.

So here for your viewing pleasure are a couple of the photos I took. Besides my digital I also used The Husbands camera which is old fashioned film (Ugh!) and I won't have those processed until later.

This is from the rest area between Starvation Lake and Strawberry reservoir:

Weird as it seems this is one of my favorite photos.
I call it "Man Plans, God Laughs"

This is Strawberry Resevoir

This cabin is just down the road from the resort

The pond in front of the lodge

Visiting Dreamer is on today's agenda; I need to give him another Xxterra treatment and check Stan's progress.

Much catching up to do. I will post more later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's a Retreat, Not a Surrender

I belong to several writers organizations (the "Published Authors" clique still eludes me, but to be honest I haven't tried very hard; still working on weaseling my way into that one) and this weekend is an event I have been looking forward to since I joined them. The Heart of the West chapter of the Romance Writers of America is sponsoring a retreat. It's being held here, and my friend Doree and I are simply giddy about it. Three days of nothing but hanging out, relaxing, drinking wine, writing, reading, goofing off…

Oh, wait…that's what I do on a daily basis.

BUT,this weekend I will be doing it with other writers. So, when I finish a masterful piece of literary treasure I can assault request that someone read what I wrote and get feedback. All this without having to follow someone around begging for a critique. In other words, instant gratification. Hidden Springs Ranch looks beautiful, and I'm excited to be in the company of so many talented wordsmiths.

For my part, I'm bringing Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup, some Sausage Jambalaya and my camera; the weather should clear up, and best of all…

They have horses.

In the mean time, here for your reading pleasure is a piece of "Flash Fiction" I wrote for a contest. I was limited to 600 words, so for me it was a Herculean task, being that I tend to run on and on and on…


Don, the Chicken Man

Out of my element when we moved from the suburbs of Chicago to rural Missouri, I was fortunate to make a new friend just down the road. Don was our neighbor; tall and wiry in his late 60s, he told me that he'd been born in Minnesota, raised in "Missoura", and was one of sixteen or seventeen kids— he couldn't recall the exact amount. Despite Don's lack of mathematical prowess we became buddies.

My husband traveled a lot, one week in Kansas City, the next in Denver. I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler in unfamiliar territory and without family near to occupy the endless hours alone on our hobby farm. Don stopped by occasionally in the evenings to check on me, the ignorant city slicker, all alone on the wild prairie. Plus he discovered our fridge is always full of beer. Dropping by to visit for a spell is a neighborly thing to do.

One June evening Don asked if "the little one", his name for my daughter, and I would like to join him at the local bar for supper.

"Wednesdays are forty-nine cent taco night," he explained. Don's a savvy bargain hunter.

Tired of only having a short person with limited vocabulary for company, I jumped at his invitation. Down our gravel road to the bar we drove, and once we were settled at a table, ninety-eight cents worth of tacos in front of me, Don talked about his week.

"I cook out on the grill when the weather's fine," he said in his slow drawl. "I usually make chicken and sausages on Sundays. I wrap the sausages in foil with onions and peppers. They're pretty good, if I do say so myself."

I nodded, unable to speak because my mouth was full. "The little one" was finger painting the table with her taco.

"I cooked out this weekend. I made chicken and sausages and had a couple a beers."

Knowing Don is mathematically challenged, I figured "a couple a" meant "a twelve pack". I was unable to comment, busily deflecting a steady barrage of shredded cheese flung in my direction.

Don continued, "I came home for lunch on Monday, and I looked in the fridge for the leftover chicken. I knew I didn't finish it all, and I was hungry."

I kept nodding. Apparently he really wanted to discuss his culinary skills.

"I looked all over my fridge, and it wasn't in there. So— you know what I did?"

I shook my head no, trying to listen to Don while scraping demolished taco into my napkin. The "little one's" restlessness was making our table look like a Jihad at the Taco Bell.

"I went out into the yard, and you know what— I left that chicken on the grill all night long."

"Was the grill still on?" I asked, a sudden suspicion clenching at my gut.

"Nope. So— you know what I did?"

I calculated the equation put before me: Chicken left on a grill from a sunny 80 degree Sunday, overnight, into a sunny 80 degree Monday at noon, and shuddered.

"I took a bite out of one of them pieces— and you know what? It tasted funny."

Words exploded out of me, words like salmonella, listeria, diarrhea.

Don calmly ate his taco while I railed. Finally he said, "You know what I did then?"

"Threw it out?" I replied, wondering what other options there could possibly be, trying to hide my urge to gag.

"Nope. I took a bite out of another piece, just to make sure."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Driving Off into the Sunset with a Trailer Full of Kid

I resumed working Friday. I guess three months, give or take, was a long enough hiatus. Friday was also the day that Kid, Belgian draft horse and former employee of Carriage for Hire was to be picked up by Cory and hauled up to Wease's house to commence his retirement.

I got to the barn a little early because I needed to do some work on my carriage. While I was loafing for the last few months, Cliff, who is in charge of doing "stuff" around the property (cleaning the pens, repairing the carriages, you know, "heavy lifting" kind of stuff) put colored tube lights on my carriage and also installed a back rest.

Now, several observations; I don't own my carriage. It's not technically "mine". I do, however, maintain it. I keep it clean, lubricated, and repaint the parts that get worn or chipped. If something needs repair, I make sure Cliff fixes it, and when I drive it I don't rub the wheels up on the curbs, or run into things with the hubs or steps.

Because of this "my" carriage is one of the best looking and best functioning (the fifth wheel turns easily, the brakes and lights all work) however, few people want to drive it because it lacked a backrest. Not having a backrest never bothered me. Why? Because in order to use the backrest I have to scoot my butt far enough back on the seat to lean against it. When I do that my feet don't sit flat on the floor, which is rather uncomfortable. So, in other words, I'm too short for a backrest to make a difference. Yet other drivers have complained to me that they don't like my carriage because it lacks one.

Well, not any more. Cliff has inadvertently made my carriage more appealing to the other drivers. Now I have to work more often so it doesn't get abused by unruly slobs who are unable to appreciate my carriage for the finely tuned piece of equipment that it is.

Anyway, here are before and after photos of my carriage.

Also, Cliff installed blue rope lights which don't exactly go with the red roses I decorate with, but blue is a hellava lot better than green or yellow.

Back to Kid: Ro pulled him out of his pen and brushed him down so he'd be all ready to go when Wease's friend arrived to haul him up north to Richmond.

Then Kid and Harley shared a meal together.

Ro and I said goodbye with hugs and kisses.

And Ro put him ouside to enjoy the sunshine.

Pretty soon Kid's limo arrived.

So Ro went and got him, walked him through the barn so the drivers working got a chance to say goodbye, and loaded him into his trailer to a new life.

And we were sad, but we were also happy because we know that Wease appreciates Kid and will take good care of him.

Later that night while I was working at South Gate I got picture texts:

Kid is finally home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Let The Begging Begin!

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. Time for our annual Strut Your Mutt fundraiser to benefit No More Homeless Pets in Utah.

Or what we lovingly like to call the Beg-A-Thon.

If you have no interest, feel free to jump ship over to another site. I know, I hate getting hit up for crap for other peoples kids. Marching Band Oranges/Grapefruit, Soccer Gift wrap/Christmas Ornaments, Girl Scout Cookies… Oh, wait, no we order those like we're hogs. Thin mints…mmmmmmm!

The Kid has been involved with this wonderful charity since we moved here in 2004, and she in no way benefits directly from the donations, other than the great feeling of accomplishment from helping save the lives of adoptable dogs and cats. So she won't be using your money to get a new softball uniform, travel to France, or go away to band camp.

Anyway, No More Homeless Pets in Utah is an excellent organization, and if you've ever watched "Dog Town" on Discovery Channel, know the story of Michael Vicks Pit bulls, seen some of the rescue efforts post-Katrina, or if you have visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, then you know some of the places and work that NMHPIU helps support. They are not limited to local involvement only.

Utahans might be familiar with the SuperPet Adoptions they host in conjunction with PetSmart, or the mobile "Big Fix" surgical unit that travels the state offering reduced spay and neutering to families to help curb the overpopulation of homeless dogs and cats. TNR is their program to trap/spay/neuter and release feral cats back into their colonies so they can live out the remainder of their rough lives where they are comfortable yet without increasing the numbers. I support NMHPIU because they are not a "breed" based rescue group, and this is the biggest fundraiser of the year.

Pets by the numbers: Prior to the inception of NMHPIU in 2000 there were over 46,000 animals in state shelters euthanized yearly. The numbers are down by 30% now, but we'd like to drop the percentage down even further, while raising adoptions over the 26% mark.

Due to the economy the number of animals being sent to shelters is on the rise while donations are down. So many pets are being surrendered because their families have lost their home, need to relocate for a new job, or just cannot justify the expense of a pet when feeding their family is a financial burden. I understand the economy is nasty right now, but any donation is welcome. NMHPIU is a registered 501 ( C) 3 charity so your contribution of $5 or more is tax deductible.

So, in conclusion, that’s why we've leaning on you for money. Donating is quick, easy and secure, just click on that widget thingy up there on the right. If you wish to make a donation in the name of a departed pet we will carry an "In Memory Of" sign during the walk, just add the info to the "Comment" section of the donation page. Pictures will be posted this year after the event which is on May 30, 2009 at Sugarhouse Park.

Last year's Beg-A-Thon post explaining the origin of the "Beg-A-Thon" name is titled

"The Year of Giving Dangerously".

More information is available at The blog from last year's Strut is here. Our visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is chronicled here (my first blog on Blogspot).

You'll noticed I never have any ads on my site, and this is the only time of year I ask for anything other than comments or feedback.

Have a great day and thank you for your support.