Hello New Yorker, Here I Come

July 1, 2009 will dawn a new day in the life of drinkers in Utah. One of our many archaic liquor laws goes the way of the dodo today. No more private clubs with memberships!

What does this mean? Well, it means that if I want to go to the New Yorker in downtown Salt Lake City, I can just show up at the door and get in. Previously, I would have needed to purchase either an annual membership or if I did not want to commit to that, I could have purchased a temporary membership. Either way, it was ridiculous and many diners avoided certain establishments because they did not want to pay to get in. Here is the link to the Salt Lake Tribune's coverage of the law change.

City Weekly will be hosting a Scenic Bar Tour tonight to celebrate. You can get all the details here. Basically, over one dozen bars will be participating and City Weekly will be providing bus service to shuttle merry-makers around the valley. As an added bonus, there will be free cab rides provided for those who may over imbibe.
(Photo via LATimes)

Arts Festival 2009

I spent Sunday afternoon at the Arts Festival in downtown Salt Lake City. The weather was absolutely perfect. We met up with a bunch of friends who we haven't hung out with in a while. It was fabulous to catch up with them.

We wandered around looking at the art and a painting of a pair of high heels caught my attention. I went into the booth and saw painting of more shoes and boot, purses, cupcakes, cocktails and roller skates! It was like the artist knew me! I really wanted to the painting of the roller skates but sadly, it was a little bit out of my budget.

There were some funny metal works sculptures. I liked this guy. His ribs are bent crescent wrenches. Amazing!

There are plenty of good eats at the arts festival too. In fact, the number of choices can be a little overwhelming. I'd read an article in the Trib that there was a booth that was selling tapas so I held out while everyone else made their food selections in the food row hoping to find the tapas booth in the festival.

It took a while and was a little torturous waiting while everyone else was eating pizza, cheese steaks, and fish tacos but I eventually found the tapas! I ordered the diver scallops with creamed spinach. Delicious and quite fancy.

Oh, For the Love of Travel

I love to travel. Well, more specifically, I to visit new places or return to fun places. But, sometimes the process of getting there gets me down. A few thoughts that I'd like to share with my fellow travelers:

  1. When going through security, there is this new rule. You MUST dispose of or empty water bottles and you MUST remove your laptop from your bag. I'm not going to try to explain the reasoning behind these rules, I just know that they ARE rules that must be followed and when you don't follow them, you hold up the entire line. This makes the travelers in line behind you very cranky.
  2. Once you are at the gate, wait until they call the zone that is ACTUALLY ON your ticket. There is absolutely no need to bunch around the gate waiting for the ticket agent to call your zone. This only clogs up the doorway so that people actually IN that zone have to fight you and all your damn carry-on pieces to get on the plane. Go sit and relax a minute. They'll call your zone in about three more minutes.
  3. If you chose to wear a cowboy hat please keep it on your head or with you. If you put it in the overhead bin then that severely restricts space for your fellow passengers. Besides, I saw you jam your luggage up there already so now you are just being a space hog. This rule also applies to jackets, coats, and large bags & totes that really can fit under the seat in front on you.
  4. Finally, to the garrulous woman seated in the window seat of my row, was it really necessary to ask the young man sitting next to me if he was my son? Even though I have a son that age it makes me feel as if I look old enough to have a child that age which EVERYONE else on the planet says isn't true and your saying so makes me wonder if they are lying.

Salt City vs Sin City

Saturday night, our All-Star team, the Shakers, are back in action against the ladies of the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls. We beat them last year and are looking for a repeat. Playing teams from other leagues is always exciting and nerve-wracking. When we play against our home teams, we know who the threats are and how to play against them. When we play other leagues, it's a bit of crap shoot until partway through the first half. We'll be forced to make adjustments on the fly.

Also, one of our announcers, Lulu Garou, will be spinning 80s dance tunes at the after party at South Shore Bar & Grill (2827 S State) after the bout. No matter who wins on the track on Saturday, the girls from Sin City will be tough to beat on the dance floor but we are going to give them a run for their money out there too!

Oh yah! Visit here for a chance to win free tix to the bout.

36 Hours in Seattle

I arrived at SEA-TAC bright and early on Saturday morning. Since I'm a tightwad, I opted to utilize Seattle's mass transit system in lieu of a cab ride. It'll cost you $2 to go from the airport to downtown Seattle. Cab fare will run $30-40 bucks.

I got to the Seattle Westin before 10:00am with the intention of stashing my bag with the bellhop until later in the afternoon when I could check in. Much to my delight, a room was available so I was able to unload my stuff and change shoes before venturing out.

My kids had plans with their Dad so I was flying solo. I walked down to Pike's Market. During previous visits to Seattle I always seem to arrive at Pike's with a full belly which is a shame because there are many delectable treats to be had there. I hadn't eaten breakfast yet so I made a beeline to Piroshky Piroshky. The line was out the door and halfway down the block but I was determined to get my hands a piroshky. They had sweet, savory, and vegetarian options but I selected a potato, cheese, and onion. It was a little bit different than what I typically think of as a piroshky (more bread-like & less doughy) but still quite delicious.

I took my piroshky and headed toward the flower stands in the Pike's Market. Apparently, I've never visited the market on a Saturday during the summer before because the place was packed. Given my issues with crowds, needless to say, I didn't stay inside for very long. Only long enough to snap a few photographs of the spectacular peonies.

Next, I cruised down to the waterfront to check out my options for getting out on the water. There are harbor cruises, sailboat rentals, ferries and a water taxi. After investigating the price, distance, and duration of each, I decided to go on the harbor cruise. I was meeting up with several family members later in the afternoon and they wanted to go on the boat ride too so we made a plan to meet for a late afternoon cruise on Argosy Cruises.

At this point, I hoofed back up to the Westin to meet my Mom and Step-dad. My Mom hasn't been to Seattle since we moved away when I was four. We decided to walk over toward the Space Needle to locate the Key Arena, where Lauren's graduation would be held in the morning. It was a glorious day and we enjoyed wandering through the Seattle Center. Besides the Space Needle and Key Arena, the Seattle Center is home to the Experience Music Project, Seattle Pacific Center, one end of the monorail, carnival rides, stages for live music, and a terrific fountain.

On our way back from the Seattle Center, we came across the Seattle Glassblowing Studio. A class was going on in back and we were allowed back there to observe the students trying their hand at glassblowing. The glass art was incredible and I'm annoyed with my self that I did not take more pictures while I was there.

The rendezvous point for the meeting up with the family was Kell's Irish Pub. We had a few drinks while admiring the views of the harbor before the harbor cruise.

After the cruise, we went out for Lauren's graduation dinner. She selected a Thai restaurant on Broadway called Jai Thai. They seem to have their domain name so I've linked to a map so you can see where the restaurant is located. I was surprised that Lauren selected Thai since she doesn't really care for Thai food but she claims this is the only place she'll eat Thai food. I had tofu pad thai which was pretty tasty.

Everyone was pretty well spent so we made an early night of it. I got back to my room and sunk into my 'Heavenly Bed' (part of Westin's marketing and believe me...dreamy!) and really the bed was unbelievably comfortable. Other nice touches were thick towels in the bathroom including a bath sheet plus a double-headed shower. I slept like a rock that night and I'm not sure that I moved a muscle during the night.

Lauren's graduation ceremony started bright and early on Sunday morning. We took the monorail which was right outside of our hotel and delivered directly to the Seattle Center. The ceremony lasted until noon. Lauren was celebrating her graduation on Sunday with her Dad and his family so my family wandered back from the Seattle Center on foot.

We found Bambino's Pizzeria and stopped in for lunch. We ordered a delicious family-sized salad with greens, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, and pine nuts served with a balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was out of this world. The pizzas and calzones are made by hand and baked in a wood burning oven. They were quite tasty but took a very long time and we were famished by the time they arrived.

At this point, it was time to head to the airport for my flight home to Salt Lake. It was a bit of whirlwind trip but I had a good time visiting a great city. Now that Lauren isn't living here anymore I'm not sure when I'll get back that direction again. But if you haven't been to Seattle you should definitely plan a trip.


You may or may not not know that I am the Wack-A-Mole champion of the world, although on my last trip to Lagoon Ban managed to squeak out a win. Fear not, there will be a rematch sometime this summer. I'm unwilling to let go of champion status that easily. But, in the meantime I hope you'll enjoy this ridiculously funny video clip.

Graduation Day Inspires Deep Thoughts

Graduations. New beginnings for those with unbridled enthusiasm. Their futures are so bright that they really do need to wear shades. Over the weekend I attended Lauren's graduation ceremony and was quite moved by it.

One of the speakers was a young woman who was graduating with her nursing degree. She also had started a non-profit organization to provide health care to impoverished women in Jamaica, while getting her degree (with honors) AND mothering two young children. Did I mention that she'll be starting graduate school in the fall?

These big life transitions are a time of reflection and introspection for me. On the one hand, it is encouraging to see these youngsters (shit...did I really just call them youngsters?) coming into their own. The students roared during the ceremony at the mere mention of Obama's name. As a group, they are inspiring and motivating. They'll be the deciders when I'm old. I'll be reliant on their sound judgment.

I also found the ceremony to be a bit sobering. Once I believed that my hard work and creative ideas could change the world. Now look. Have I grown complacent? Am I so comfortable in my life that I've let the fire burn out on issues that are important to me, issues like equality and social justice? Issues that I once cared passionately about and devoted my life's work toward. Additionally, have I made time to delve into the creative pursuits that I want to explore. I don't think I can honestly say that I've done as much as I should.

I'm going to start exploring some new avenues for rekindling those passions. I owe it to myself, my children and my community.

Lauren's Big Day

Well, it's official. Lauren is a college graduate! Sunday morning at the Key Arena in Seattle, Lauren and about 1,000 other students received their degrees. I can't believe how fast these four years have passed.

She's had such terrific experiences at Seattle University. She met wonderful friends, took challenging courses, hosted a rockabilly radio show on the college radio station and eventually became the music director, and of course, spent her last semester abroad in Grenoble, France. She traveled to Germany, Ireland, and Spain while in Europe. This kid has done stuff that I've only dreamed of.

I can't wait to see what she's going to do next! Well, besides starting graduate school in the fall at Pratt in Manhattan. :)

Sunrise, Sunset

Swiftly flow the days...or years as the case may be. This photo was taken in 1999 when I graduated from the University of Utah with my undergraduate degree. On Sunday, Lauren will be graduated with her BA in history, minor in French from Seattle University.

She doesn't know it yet but I'm going to make sure that this photo is recreated with her in the mortarboard. I'm so damn proud of her. She's living the dream. I'd link to her travel blog from her semester abroad in France from which she returned last week but it is SO horribly out of date. Sorry, but guilt is a Mom's prerogative. Get back to that blog, Lauren! Those living vicariously through you are waiting.

I'm taking off for Seattle at the crack of dawn. I'll be taking lots of photos and will post upon my return.
Water for Elephants Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Water for Elephants is an engaging read right from the beginning. Set during the Depression, the story follows Jacob as a tragic event changes the trajectory of his life forever.

I saw the Ringling Bros. Circus in Madison Square Garden as a kid and I was mesmerized. Reading Water for Elephants shows some of the seedy under belly of train circuses in the 1920s and 1930s. In the author's notes, Sara Gruen lists a newspaper article about a circus photographer as the inspiration for the novel. I'm intrigued enough that I may try to track down some of her references and read them myself.

View all my reviews.

Hey You with the Coconut Bra Top

This Saturday afternoon, the Salt City Derby Girls are hosting a luau. So, dig up that grass skirt and head over for some roast pig and loads of fun. I'll be in Seattle this weekend for Lauren's graduation so I'll miss out on the Hawaiian fun. If you go, take lots of pictures for me, ok?

Happy (and Soggy) SLC Pride Parade

Today was the annual SLC Pride Parade. The Pride parade is always a great time. I find it a soul affirming display of tolerance that is somewhat unexpected in Salt Lake. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate this morning. The skies opened up and poured rain down on the parade goers.

Salt City Derby Girls skated again in the parade and many girls braved the rain in their skates and short skirts. After a nasty fall last night in the Cleavers/Bombers bout and a bruised hip bone, I decided to by-pass the skates this morning and walked the route instead. Plus, I wasn't super keen on exposing my skates to wet. The picture above is from Salt Lake Tribune's website.

Despite the weather, the derby girls had a blast and it seemed like most of the people lining the parade route were having a great time too.


I love both of these guys so this video is a total win-win for me. Hope you enjoy it too.

Spanish Lover

Lauren is wrapping up her European adventure this week before returning to Salt Lake on Saturday. She spent the last few days in Spain. Earlier today I was instant messaging with her and the follow conversation occurred:

Lauren: so while I was in spain I met someone


Lauren: and now he is the love of my life

Me: *pausing silently & wondering if my kid has lost her mind*

Lauren: check it out

I'm glad to see that her six months in France hasn't changed her too much....


My daughter recently sent me the link to this video from MTV's Made, with a note asking if I recognized anyone in the clip. Unfamiliar with the show, yet intrigued by my daughter's note, I started watching the video. As soon, as I heard that whiskey voice, I instantly recognized 'Rouge' as the little sister of one of my daughter's friends.

The last time I'd seen this kid was when I was shuttling a car full of them down to Raging Waters for the afternoon. Rouge was up front in the passenger's seat making small talk with me like a 30 year old. I distinctly remember her asking me what I did for a living (she must have been 10 years old at the time). Their family moved away from Salt Lake years ago but needless to say, I got a kick out of the video clip. Plus, I thought her song was pretty good too.

Clever (and Labor Intensive) Wedding Invitation

I have several friends getting married this year so I'm always on the look out for unusual wedding-related ideas to pass along to them. Plus, I'm easily amused by creative uses of technology. Check out this wedding invitation featured on Joanna Goddard's A Cup of Jo blog. I can just imagine how much fun the couple had making the film.