What do you think is more adorable — puppies or kittens and why?
I read that naming pets after food is a trend in 2023. I guess my daughter was ahead of her time?
What do you think is more adorable — puppies or kittens and why?
I read that naming pets after food is a trend in 2023. I guess my daughter was ahead of her time?
We saw this styrofoam on our walk. This is on the other side of the road from where we cleaned up last week.
As I wrote last week, we decided to have a quiet weekend without cooking, cleaning and entertaining.
It was lovely. We’ve been entertaining and going out with friends more than introvert me prefers. I don’t know why our neighborhood is so darn social. Maybe it’s the years of being shut down. The newcomers — like us — who moved during the pandemic were looking to end isolation and make new friends.
Anyhow, a weekend alone was much needed and appreciated.
Some of the highlights were our morning and afternoon walks. We decided to double up on walking and although my feet and knees hurt, I think it may be good for me?
Last week, we noticed trash on the side of the road and sidewalk. We picked up several bags and felt good about our good deed. I wrote about that HERE. After this weekend, we are up to eight bags of trash. The side of the road we started on looks wonderful. But then one day we ventured to the other side of the road — and it’s a mess!
As we were headed back to our garbage cans at our house with our stuffed bags and my husband holding random pieces of styrofoam too big for the bags, we ran into neighbors. They said they thought about doing the same thing. The wife asked her husband to take a photo of us holding our trash! She said, “You can put it in the newsletter and maybe it will encourage others to do the same.”
“That’s a great idea,” the husband said snapping our picture. “We’ll put you guys in the newsletter.”
I laughed along with the wife. He obviously didn’t know that I’m the one who writes and lays out the newsletter.
After they left my husband said, “Over my dead body.”
He explained that he likes to pick up trash because it makes the desert cleaner and it gives him a sense of satisfaction. He doesn’t want any recognition or attaboys for it. Thankfully, he doesn’t read my blog!
Another highlight of our afternoon walks, besides listening to the birds, who I can now identify by their calls and songs — thanks to Bird Buddy — was when a neighbor drove up the road and unrolled her window.
“Down across the street is a big bobcat,” she said.
We thanked her and I wanted to turn around. My husband pushed on. “They are afraid of us,” he said.
We walked to the end of the block and a few feet from us was a bobcat — who is much stockier and filled out than the skinny one we see in our yard. He walked nonchalantly across the road. He was in no rush and didn’t give us a glance. My husband tried to snap his picture — for the newsletter of course — but he quickly disappeared in the brush on the other side of the road.
This is our skinny bobcat on our patio. She passes through for a bird snack from time to time.
Saturday night we watched football. But in two different rooms. I’m a big Utah Utes fan. My husband is rooting for USC and both games were on Saturday night.
USC is already headed to the PAC 12 champs, regardless of what happened Saturday.
Utah had a few hurdles:
They had to beat CO — done 63-21
Oregon State had to beat Oregon — done 38-34
UCLA had to beat CAL — done 35 – 28
Washington had to beat Washington State — done 51 – 33
All the dominoes fell into place. Can you believe it? Our next game is Utah vs. USC for the conference title. I have a feeling we’ll be watching in separate rooms again.
What are some of the simple pleasures you enjoyed this past weekend?
We are getting ready to take a road trip to the gorgeous state of Utah. Hopefully the Wasatch mountains will be cooler than the weather we’re having in Arizona.
Our daughter introduced us to Park City, UT during her four years as a “Ute” in college. Park City and adjacent Deer Valley are ski resorts in the winter and hiking, biking outdoor adventure lands in the summer. I’m sure the other ski resorts nearby like Breckenridge, Alta and Snowbird have miles of hiking and biking trails in the summer, too.
I have a few days left to get organized. I am making lists of what I need to get done before we leave including filling the cooler with ice the night before to make sure it’s icy cold (Tip from Yeti.) Another travel tip I learned is to take your condiments with you. That’s a money saver that I’ve done for years.
I also pack enough TP and paper towels to make it through trip. Air bnb’s usually leave one extra roll of each.
Then the sandwiches I make and for the road and and snacks like grapes and bagel chips to munch on are a lifesaver. We don’t have to stop to eat, only for gas and bathrooms. It works for us as a money and time saver.
I’m going to keep track of what we spend on gas! The last time we went to Utah gas was below $2 a gallon. I just googled gas at Costco in Salt Lake City and it’s now $4.95! It’s more than 10 hours each way, but once we get there, we don’t have to drive hardly at all. They have a great bus system and we are within walking distance to the hiking trails, grocery store and downtown shops and restaurants.
The only thing that I find annoying is my husband. I commented on Tater’s post yesterday called Travel Day that my husband and I agree on a time to leave. Usually around 1 to 2 p.m. in the afternoon — and at 8 a.m. my husband announces that he’s ready to go! There goes five hours of time I was planning on to make sandwiches, pack the cooler and do last minute things around the house.
My plan this year is to be ready by 8 a.m. Any bets since I’ll be ready to go, I’ll be waiting until 2 p.m. to leave?
What are your best travel tips? How much are you paying for gas? How are high gas prices changing your summer travel plans?
I wrote this post about my Thanksgiving several years ago without our kids. Unfortunately, we hardly ever see the children on Thanksgiving anymore. But we do have plans to be together for a week over Christmas. Here’s what I wrote on my first kidless Thanksgiving:
Our first Thanksgiving without our kids. I’m thankful they are with dear friends and their families since they weren’t able to make the trek home this year. Instead of moping around the house feeling sorry about my empty nest, we’re celebrating with our close friends. It was 30 years to the day that I first met them (my husband met the husband through work) and we spent Thanksgiving weekend sailing with them in Santa Barbara.
Here’s to friends and family and creating memories together.
Who are you sharing your Thanksgiving with? What traditions do you share with friends and family?
Salt Lake City has been in the spotlight because of the historic vice presidential debate last night. Salt Lake City is a vibrant, clean, friendly yet small city that I fell madly in love with while my daughter went to the University of Utah. During her four years as a student-athlete, we took many trips to watch her swim meets and enjoy the gorgeous sights in SLC and surrounding mountains resorts.
We were impressed by the community spirit of rooting for the Utes. Everywhere there are “Go Utes!” murals, flags and signs. The football stadium is always sold out–rain or shine. The gymnastics team is the most attended women’s sport in the country with more than 15,000 fans in the Huntsman Dome.
When my daughter graduated and moved out of Utah, I really felt sad. I thought we’d never visit Utah again without her there. But, instead we rented an airbnb in Park City the past two summers. I love it more than ever. It is such a healthy, beautiful place to be to beat the desert heat.
A friend asked my daughter and me to put together a list of things to do in SLC for her niece who’s a freshman at the University of Utah. Most of our things to do revolved around food. But, all in all it’s a list of our favorite memories during four years of being Ute fans. Here’s our Salt Lake City guide for UTE students, parents and visitors:
The Grand America Hotel — nicest in SLC, fun to walk through, even if you don’t stay there. I never made it to Sunday Brunch, but it’s supposed to be amazing.
The Little America — same company, Sun Valley Company, owns both the Little and Grand America hotels. It’s very nice but a little more low key than the Grand America. Restaurants are great, try the Coffee Shop for comfort food and amazing hot rolls with butter. I loved the gym and pool and big rooms at a great price. Our home away from home in Salt Lake City.
Valter’s Osteria — fine Italian, special occasion, delicious and great atmosphere. The owner Valter is so personable!
Market Street Grill — Pacific Northwest seafood flown in daily. Great for big parties or family lunch and dinner.
Takashi My favorite sushi restaurant. They have an excellent menu with many hot dishes, too.
Sapa My daughter’s favorite sushi restaurant. I think she and her friends liked the “all you can eat” special. Plus it was exciting because you aren’t allowed in unless you’re with someone 21 years old or older.
Les Madeleines — small Parisian bakery/cafe for breakfast and lunch. I love the tomato basil soup with salad!
Freshies Lobster Co. — Park City must! Casual restaurant that started as a food truck serving lobster rolls and lobster salad, amazing! The best meal I ever had in Utah! So simple but delicious. Here’s a review by the Salt Lake Tribune which says they opened a Salt Lake City restaurant blocks away from my daughter’s former house!
Italian — Antica Sicilia and Doce Sicilia. Recommended by Matteo Songe, a teammate of my daughter’s from Italy. He said this was authentic Sicilian. The Carbonara pasta is prepared with flames in a cheese wheel table side!
Aristo’s — family-operated Greek. Delicious. Outdoor seating on the patio in the summer.
The Pie — pizza hangout for students.
Kat’s breakfast list and what to order:
Blue Plate — Benedict omelette
Ruth’s Diner — Anything! Have the biscuits.
Finn’s Cafe — Eggs Benedict
Eggs in the City — Literally anything, if you want something sweet get the cinnamon roll pancake
Park Cafe — Michigan hash
Bruges Waffles & Frites– amazing waffles and fries. Only order a size small of the fries though
Kat’s shopping list
Love Street Apparel — super cute boutique and not expensive.
City Creek Center — nicest mall with the most stores including Nordstrom, Lush, Apple, Sephora, etc. Shop on Friday or Saturday if you’re there for a weekend, since the entire mall is closed on Sunday!
Patagonia Outlet in SugarHouse
Things to do:
Liberty Park — beautiful city park for walks or running.
9th and 9th — small area of shops and restaurants you can walk to and from Liberty Park. Thursday nights 9th and 9th at 9 pm bike ride.
Sugar House — more shops and restaurants
Salt Lake City and County Building — historic 1890s building with 2002 Winter Olympic display.
Temple Square — interesting to walk to and around. We never made it to find our geneology, but that is supposed to be available to the public.
Park City — day trip to walk and shop — or perfect summer or ski vacation spot.
Deer Valley — chair lifts in the summer. Spectacular views and hiking.
Skiing — Alta, Deer Valley, Brighton, Park City, Snowbird, Alpine skiing at Brighton has beginning to more advanced, plus rentals.
Sports at UTAH — go to football, gymnastics, basketball, swimming, etc. The crowds at football and student MUSS section are so enthusiastic. Red Rocks Gymnastics is a top five NCAA team consistently and they have 15,000 plus in attendance — the most attended Olympic sport for collegiate women in the U.S.
Church — CenterPoint in Orem. Pastor Scott McKinney. Scott and my husband were best friends from grade school through high school. It was so nice to reconnect with Scott and his wife Sara. They provided our daughter with a home away from home.
Where your favorite places to visit and do you have any recommendations?
“Lessons learned from 27 years of youth sports parenting” by Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone hit a spot in my soul. He shared many of the highlights of his years of sports parenting with his children. Like he said in his column, they had no idea how youth sports would take over their families lives when they first began the ride. We too tried a variety of sports and then settled on swimming for both our children. Before we knew it, we were all hooked, and swimming filled up our lives.
A few days before the first swim meet ever, we received a call from the president of our team’s board. He said we needed to sign up to help during the meet. They needed timers or help in the snack bar. What? We were shocked. Then, he said that afterward, the entire team stayed to tear down the meet.
I said, “We have family visiting from Seattle.”
He said, “They’re welcome to help, too.”
The phone calls persisted and finally, my husband said, “I’m sorry but we have a life!”
Roll forward a few years and I was serving on the board, writing press releases, creating fliers to promote the team and writing the team newsletter. My husband became meet manager and had to call parents to help at meets, before he took on the role of president of the board. Add our volunteering to the fact that we were taking our kids to the pool six days a week, plus meets, 50 weeks a year–and yes sports parenting took over our lives for a few years.
Here’s part of the great column by Larry Stone that got me a little teary eyed. Especially since my last official year as a swim mom ended this year:
Take it from Larry Stone, who has learned a few lessons over 27 years of youth sports parenting: There are a few tricky or annoying aspects of your offspring’s sports participation, but mostly, you’re going to want to savor it before it goes by in an instant.
It was way back in 1991 when my oldest daughter, Jessica, signed up for a 6-and-under Bobby Sox softball team in Oakland, Calif., where we were living at the time.
It was a delightful season of fun, growth and bonding, though it soon became apparent that Jess was not destined to be a slugger like Dave Henderson of her beloved A’s. To be fair, she did hit a grand slam (of the Little League variety) in her final at-bat, as Jessica, now 32 and married, reminded me on Tuesday.
I didn’t realize at the time that our family was stepping timidly into a world that would at times dominate our lives, and certainly became a focal point of family logistics for more than a quarter century.
Naturally, I’ve been reflecting about the good times and the bad as a youth-sports parent (and fortunately, we had far more of the former). I thought I’d present some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years – some of them the hard way.
• A few of the coaches you’ll encounter will be ego-driven tyrants who think they’re the next Belichick or Auriemma as they micro-manage pre-teens. Far more will be kind, supportive and motivated by the simple desire to make your child a better player without bruising his or her psyche in the process.
• Throw the words “select,” “premier” or “elite” in front of a sports program, and there’s no end to the amount of effort (and money) we parents will put forth to get our kid into it.
• There’s a dire need to make youth athletics less about select, premier and elite, and more about fun, participation and recreation.
• If your overriding goal for youth sports is a Division I scholarship, you need to rethink your priorities. First of all, it’s probably not going to happen – that’s just the stark reality. Second of all, you’re likely to spend so much money in that pursuit that it negates the value of what in most cases would be a partial scholarship anyway. And third of all, if your kid has the talent, it will emerge clearly and emphatically on its own. In other words, pay for the camps, clinics, showcases and recruiting videos if you’d like, but be aware that the payoff is not likely to be what you think.
• Burnout is the scourge of youth sports, and specialization is the single biggest source of burnout. Particularly at the younger levels, diversify, don’t specialize!
• Overwrought and demanding parents are now, were then, and will continue to be the bane of youth sports, perpetually pushing the line between concerned involvement and crazed entitlement.
• Some of the best friends and people I’ve ever met are youth-sports parents who set the finest examples of how to positively support, encourage and nurture your child’s athletic career. And some of the best parenting advice, perspective and support I ever got came from people I sat with in the bleachers — the ones with older kids who had been here and done this, and the ones struggling through the same developmental hiccups that were keeping me up at night.
There’s more to the article and I suggest you read every bit of it. I agree with Stone that some of my best friends I met on our team and from other teams throughout Southern California. Our friendships have lasted through the years. I got great advice from parents of older kids, and commiserated with the ones with kids the same ages as mine. Of course, there were those crazy parents who caused so much stress—but they were few and far between. And we had our own crazy moments ourselves but learned from our mistakes.
I learned more about parenting on deck that went far beyond the pool—like which teachers were the best, about SAT testing, college recruiting and more. In return, I’ve talked with parents with younger kids and hope I can be as helpful as those who helped me.
If your sports parenting days are over, what do you miss about it? What are your favorite things about being involved in youth sports?
Four years ago today, I posted this story after attending college orientation with my youngest. I can’t get my mind around how fast and fun these college years have been with both my kids. There’s so much I would do over if there were things called “do-overs.” I learned so much from the experience and want to share five things I wish someone would have told me before they left home.
I spent two days in the pristine mountainside beauty of Salt Lake City with clear blue skies and intense sunshine. Parents attended most meetings without their kids, who were similarly engaged with topics angled for teenage consumption.
Having been to college orientation three years prior with my firstborn, I didn’t think I’d learn anything new. However, in “Supporting your College Student” presented by Dr. Kari Ellingson, Associate Vice President, Student Development, I wished I’d heard her advice before I sent my first child to college.
“I think she’s met my son — the one who’s going to be a senior in college,” I whispered to a mom next to me. (He’s also the son who tried to give away the cat on FB.)
She answered, “No, I’m sure she’s talking about my oldest daughter!”
Children go through changes. But, if it’s your first child going to college, or your last, you will be going through changes, too. We are in the process of changing our relationship from parent to child to adult to adult. We go through transitions, pushing them away and holding them close.
A student who works 10 to 15 hours on campus will do better in school than someone who works off campus or doesn’t work at all. Students working on campus are making connections with the campus, student, and staff. They are completing their identity as a student first.
Students born from 1980 to 2000 are known as millennials. They don’t like to suffer — they love nice things — and they don’t mind working for them. Unfortunately, this can interfere with their education. So, if they want spending money, suggest a job on campus.
Cell phones according to Dr. Ellingson, are “the world’s longest umbilical cords.” Some students call home 5, 6, 7 times a day. In our day, we waited in line for the phone down the hall on Sundays — when long distance was cheaper — and horror of all horrors — there wasn’t such a thing as a cell phone!
Don’t let your child’s crisis become your crisis. Let them problem solve. Ellingson’s example was a daughter who called her mom and said, “I flunked my midterm. The professor hates me…” After consoling her crying daughter, the mother called back later with more advice. The daughter was like, “Huh? What are you talking about? Everything’s fine.”
They are learning to become themselves. Making new friends. They will be grieving and letting go of high school friendships but will build new and deeper ones. A main developmental issue is finding their identity. Their core stays the same, which has been developing over the past 18 years. But, how they express themselves changes.
They may try on new identities by copying new friends to see how it fits or feels. You may say to yourself, and hopefully not to your child, “Who the hell is this?” Then you meet their new friend, and say to yourself, “Oh, now I see who this is!”
Intellectually they are still developing. They see things differently than before. They love to debate. They will try out their debating skills, or how to express themselves by choosing opinions contrary to yours, even if it isn’t what they truly believe.
They need to discover how to be on their own — and this is one of their fears. Delayed maturation is common. It used to be people matured around 19, 20, 21. Today it’s 26, 27 or 28. They will say to you “Leave me alone!” Then, “bail me out!” This is normal. The pendulum will swing back and forth.
Just remember to love them, guide them, but let them figure it out. The more we solve their problems, the more we delay their growth into independent, responsible adults.