Why I’m Staying in My Room

It’s my last full day in Utah, and I don’t have to work. You’d think I’d be going around seeing the sights, shopping, eating, etc. The ski area finally opened, so all those nice shops I’ve only been able to look in the windows of are open (with their ski resort prices, no doubt). But nope, I’m not going out today.

It would have been smart of me to take a video, but here are moving ski lifts.

I did take a walk yesterday, fairly late in the day. I just wanted to see what the place looked like when things were running. I got to see the ski lifts in action, with people actually riding on them.

ski people
Well-spaced people with skis and snowboards preparing to board ski lifts. Only parties who are together can share a lift.

There were actual skiers in their ski clothing. They sure look well protected with the boots, pants, jackets, hoods, goggles, and masks. Yep, I didn’t see one skier who wasn’t also wearing a mask.

These folks do not appear to be as well spaced.

The ski lift lines have markers for keeping people distant, and I’ve read they are limiting access to the mountains. That’s all good, I think. All the restaurants are limiting seating, but I predict the same thing that was happening downtown will happen here: people will line up for the restaurants in normal lines. That sort of defeats the social distancing purpose, right?

Something cheerful. People sledding. Note the distinct lack of snow. It’s supposed to be clear for quite a while.

After thinking about it and talking to Lee, I agreed to stay at the condo today, since I have a feeling the first Saturday of ski season will be crowded. Good thing I have that knitting project (and a lot of packing to do).

Masked people were putting these decorations together on Thursday, so I was glad to see them finished. It’s all real greenery. Tasteful.

So, it’s good to have seen the decorations, the activity, and the finished fire pit I watched getting built. But, I’ll be in my room.

There are lots of these benches that look like lift chairs now. This is the finished seating area, where they carefully put the rocks 6 feet apart. A friend points out that this is a lot of wasted gas and heat.

The good news is that I’ve been reading more and more about how planes are pretty darned safe. My main worry is being in crowded airports. On my way here, they were pretty empty. But it’s Thanksgiving week. I hadn’t thought of that when booking my trip. Going home last week would have been a better idea from that perspective, but things in Cameron are a bit of a mess, so it’s perhaps better that I stayed here. Sorry, I’m thinking aloud in my blog. I guess it’s allowed.

I’m going to ask anyone who’s reading this to take care around your friends and family right now. You don’t know where people have been and who they’ve been around. I know for certain that not all COVID deaths have been reported as such, which makes me think things may well be worse than they really are. And with so many people convinced they have a right to NOT take precautions, it really seems like a good idea to be careful. Sorry to be preachy, but I care about MY family, and I assume you care about yours.

Tribute to Self Care

This morning, I woke up and didn’t feel awake. These days, whenever you feel the least bit off, you immediately think you have COVID. I ran through all my symptoms, tested my sense of smell (yep, the trash can still smells like a banana cemetery), and checked my temperature (97).

I realized I was mostly chilly. So I put on my extra cozy sweater, turned on the fireplace, and closed the blinds. That helped me get through all my meetings.

Warm and cozy and sorta dark.

After all the Zoom meetings were over, I dragged the laptop into the bedroom, where I could get under the covers. I worked some more, but felt so tired. So I slept for an hour! Oops!

Self care station.

So now I’m in my self care station, with knitting, a book, plenty of water and many pillows. I guess I won’t be checking out skiers today. The plan is to talk at least a short walk, then take a bath with the bath bomb Kathleen gave me.

My body said it was tired of all that work and crazed exercise. I listened. After all, I want to be in good shape to travel back to Texas on Sunday. I’m very glad Hilton has provided dozens of antiseptic wipes I can take and use at airports and planes.

Travel ready.

The Plan

When I get back, I’m going to hide out in Austin for a while, so we are not going to have a germy family Thanksgiving. That will be hard, but between quarantines in Cameron and me traveling in this pandemic, I’d rather postpone seeing Lee and the animals than bring in an illness. Anita and I can easily physically distance in Austin, so that’s the best thing I could come up with.

With love from me to you.

I must admit, though, that videos and pictures of the animals make me miss them so much. Let’s hope next time I leave town we can feel safer.

Calming Vibes

I’ve been working hard this week, and there’s some work challenges, but still getting out and exercising in the brisk Utah mountain air. Because the ski area is getting more busy, I’m being more careful where I go. I’m avoiding people as much as possible this week.

Claiming clouds.

Today I was able to head up to the pretty subdivision up from where I’m staying. The houses are huge, and many have beautiful statues and lighting. But I was busy walking, so I didn’t take photos.

I love those colors.

For most of my walk breaks, I was enjoying the clouds and trees, so once I’d hit my exercise goal I let myself stop and take pictures.

Nice fence!

I bet the people in these mini farms and vacation palaces are annoyed by all the construction and timeshares that have cropped up. At least they still have views!

Again. Clouds.

Now off for a meeting for the Cameron business, followed by knitting and football. You know, this break has been a real blessing. I’m glad I’m able to work while I’m here in the scenery. It feels a little less self indulgent!

There’s a barn back there.

How are YOU helping yourself unwind and recharge? What keeps you calm?

They’re Ready for Ski Season

It’s becoming more and more obvious that the area where I’m staying will be getting more crowded. They will open the mountain resort here on Friday or Saturday (though it has warmed up again and the snow is melting rapidly). I do believe I’ve timed my trip just about right, since my motivation has been staying away from people and their germs.

They’ve cleaned up all the statuary, as you can see.

I’ve been noticing a lot of interesting things as the staff gets busy, and it’s all pretty educational, since my last ski experience was almost 30 years ago.

Unfortunately, the construction around the resort where I am staying has not abated. But, there is a street cleaner (at right).

The easiest way to tell they are about to start skiing is all the convenient ski resting spots they’ve put up everywhere.

And of course, all the holiday decorations are a dead giveaway, too.

They are firing up the ski lifts, and I even saw them getting the ski patrol ready to patrol. They sure have a lot of fun ski vehicles! I would like to try some of those out.

One thing had been making me wonder as I walk around in the chilly air, and that’s why all the walkways at the main ski resort area are never covered with snow. I was imagining elves getting out at the crack of dawn and working on the sidewalks, but I also didn’t see any piles of snow.

All that fresh concrete behind the cones is heated!

Now I know. I forgot to take a photo yesterday, but workers were making a seating area of rocks around a fire pit, and sure enough, there are all sorts of warming wires on the ground. Today, they are covering it all up with concrete, and you’d never know the heating elements are there. I guess all the walkways are like that!

It looks as if this will be a fun place to hang out, once all the shops are open, but I still like the mountains and the trees the best.

Ski patrol getting ready to roll out, plus people sledding on the hill.

I hope these photos gave you a break from whatever’s troubling you today. Love to all, especially my family.

Olypmic Park Dog Gymnastics

Today was the last day for my second batch of visitors, but we decided to go have lunch before they left. We went back to the restaurant in Park City where I met the nice server who saved my phone, because Kathleen wanted to get a t-shirt for their Polygamy Stout.

I just pictured peace, quiet, and a raven while the drunken child went on and on.

They didn’t have any shirts the right size, but we did try the beer, and it was good. All the food was delicious, though the visit was marred by some rich, drunk kids yelling. They kept shushing the loudest one, and I swear it would have just been more fun to listen to him go on and on.

I mentioned that I’m almost out of yarn and would probably need to Uber to the local Michael’s to get something else to knit on (yes, I am capable of knitting with inexpensive yarn, if I must). Kathleen said they’d take me before they left, so off we went. Wow, the regular shopping center outside of town was hardly recognizable for the tweeness of the signs and mountain-y style. Best Buy looked its best, that’s for sure.

That’s the shopping center, off in the distance.

I didn’t find exactly what I wanted, but did get two contrasting colors to make the scarf pattern I found, but larger, as a wrap. Chris was really impressed by giant skeins of self-striping bulky yarn, and I saw a nice slip-stitch afghan pattern on the label, so I said I’d make him one if he selected the yarn. That would be a fun gift, right? I still have a thing to finish at home, so I need to get back in the groove and find some way to protect knitting from the dogs.

Inexpensive yarn for something to sit under and watch television.

As we were leaving, we realized that the Olympic Park from the 19th Winter Olympics was right across from the shopping center. So, since we happened to be there, we checked it out. The views were spectacular from the venue, and it was really fun to see where all the ski events took place.

We didn’t have time to see the museums or anything, but the outsides were pretty.

On our way back down, we passed lots of hiking trails just full of people, since the weather is well above freezing today. Then we saw dogs, lots of dogs. We just pulled over to the side of the road and watched at least a dozen very happy dogs on the leashless dog trail.

One dog was on the wrong side of the trail, but did not mind.

There was so much frolicking. They all seemed to get along well, and definitely loved the snow. They ran back and forth, play-bowed and leapt.

Running full speed

One black dog kept jumping into piles of snow and biting at the snow. That particular dog must have run a mile just while we were watching. It was pure joy. I kept picturing Carlton out there with them, except he’d be invisible.

Black dog in its snow pile.

What a great send-off for K. and C.! They decided to drive their rental car back, which meant I could give them some of the stuff I’ve bought, so I won’t have to try to pack it all. I feel like I may have dodged a bullet there. I will not be bringing home all the food they left for me, but I also will NOT need to buy any more restaurant food while I’m here. I’m all set for a week of working by day and relaxing in the evenings.

The weird Coke won’t be left over, however. Not bad.

And now that I figured out how to get my watch to track elliptical workouts, I will be able to keep the exercise up, no matter how bad the weather gets. Today, though, I’m gonna get more walking in.

Rocky Mountain VERY High

Not the drug kind of high, we enjoyed the elevation kind. This afternoon, we went to get more groceries, thanks to the Caso rental car. Being easily amused, Kathleen and I enjoyed looking at exotic Utah groceries, like peach and raspberry Coca-Cola. We tried the peach tonight, and it was actually pretty good.

That’s Park City down there.

After fueling up on a fancy coffee (and getting more mugs), we asked if we could take a little ride before the next snowstorm came. So, we took off to explore the Deer Valley area.

Mountains everywhere.

C. kept heading higher and higher up the roads. There were so many beautiful condos, giant houses, and spectacular views. Kathleen and I were like little kids looking at the scenery.

That’s a huge resort below.

Eventually we got to the end of one of the long and winding roads. We got out to take pictures. We were WAY up there. The temperature had steadily gone down as we ascended. And a gale wind was blowing. We were so high up!

You can see the wind whipping our hair.

But it was so beautiful. The ski slopes up there look really scary. All the houses are ski in and ski out but with the lifts not working yet, I’m not sure how one would get back up.

I believe this is the highest up I’ve ever been.

We did see a lot of people getting ready to ski, but I think they were going down cross-country trails. I hope. Plus, we saw a cool inclined train thing (funicular?) going up to the St. Regis resort way on top. That would be a fun place to stay, if funds were available.

See the little car going up? Cool.

We thoroughly enjoyed the huge trees and vistas all the way to Mirror Lake (where we took pictures a few days ago). I even saw a buck in the woods, but no moose. My heart was full of beauty!

Fancy house view with art.

By the time we got back down, we realized we’d made a circle around Park City. We didn’t even try! The snow had started falling, so we headed back.

Right outside the Caso condo this evening.

It’s beautiful out, but I think we wisely decided to cook in the other condo tonight. Theirs is also cozy! It will be a good night for a bath and more coziness back at my empty place. I’ll miss Anita, but I do have a couple more days for fun with the family.

Right outside my condo.

Plus the snow will make it easy to avoid crowds. There’s plenty of mountain fun with all this space!

Escape from Park City

Anita and I were trying to decide what to do today when there was a knock at the door. I wondered if the housekeepers came back, but no, it was someone else. She was all bundled up, but then I realized it was Kathleen! They’d surprised me!

Not Park City!

Much happiness ensued. Eventually we went on a ride in the car they rented. Whee! We went to Heber City and to Midway, both cute towns. Midway was extremely cute in an Alpine way. We had lunch and shopped at a very quaint shop.

Scenery

Then we drove around and looked at mountains and valleys and much beauty.

We sorta like snow.

There are lots of horses in this area of Utah. It was almost like being in Kentucky, only snowier. There were so many small ranches and pretty horses.

Hello, we’re horses.

The drive was beautiful. We saw so many hills, valleys, rivers, dams, and lakes. Anita, Kathleen and I ran around and squealed a lot when we made our stops.

It’s a lake! I’m huge!

Just gotta say surprise visits are good, and we are so grateful to our family got joining us for a few days. Now, enjoy some pictures!

Laying Low

Sometimes you just want to stay cozy. It was really cold this morning. So Anita and I are watching movies. I am knitting.

I am not doing well with gauge. Oops. Haven’t knitted in a while.

The knitting is less ugly than it was. It’s a table runner. It will block nicely.

It’s nice to just relax. Even though there have been some glitches today, I’m just chilling. Hygge. Yep. Peace.

Got the computer hooked up to the TV, which shows very pretty screen savers.

Life is boring! We’re staying out of COVID in Utah. That’s just fine. I feel lucky to have a vacation with peace and movies. It could be worse. Maybe Thursday we can get out and drive around!

Yes. Exercise in the Cold Is Fun. So Is Personal Growth.

Where did the real Suna go? I’ve been thoroughly enjoying getting lots and lots of exercise since it got cold way up here in the mountains. Like, I volunteer to climb up snowy hills. I pant a bit and go higher. I stand around and think about going even higher or driving to a better hiking place (we may rent a car tomorrow and go somewhere).

When the sun came out it was so beautiful.

Today we went to get more groceries, which was also fun. If there’s a blizzard I’ll be fine. And Anita got lemon for her morning beverage! We’re good! Then we took yet another walk. I just can’t stop. I think I’d never seen so much dry powdery snow before. The crunch crunch crunch is really invigorating! It’s even addicting.

When you get away from condos, it’s nice here.

I think I may need to learn to criss-country ski at some point, though my legs are already yelling at me.

Okay, some of the condos can look nice.

Folks, I never liked exercise as much as I do now. I wonder if taking turmeric and CBD oil has made my body feel better, so I enjoy moving more? Now physical exertion is fun.

Also, though, I never liked being out in the cold much (sorry, Illinois years). I’m from a warm place. What’s up with that?

Plus snowflakes! They are so pretty. Yes, I took a picture of snow.

In Illinois, it was often SO cold and windy, and I had to stand around waiting for the bus, or walk a mile to teach a class too many times when my breath was freezing as it came out. This week, it’s cold, but really pleasant. I’m glad I’ve had this experience.

Look! Clouds hitting the mountain.

All this glee isn’t something I’ve felt in so long. I get that way in Texas when I’m with Apache or out looking at new plants. The key really seems to be living in the moment. Just being present and experiencing what’s going on right around you truly brings joy.

Sun and snow. Good.

What a lesson at such a good time! Most of my life I’ve read about living in the moment. I’ve tried to do it. This year has been hard, so hard, but I think I’ve benefited by making so much progress on being here, now.

What’s out there that can invigorate you? How are you growing in this season of transition?

A Close Call after a Close Call

This morning, they announced the winner if the US Presidential election. You probably heard that. It was a close call, for sure.

Anita and I had already planned to go shopping before it snowed. We made a pact to keep our mouths shut and not act all jovial. Half the people are sad and half are happy, after all.

But the second we got into our Uber car the guy started talking about feeling hopeful, so we had to tell him. Then his friends called him. Everyone was so happy. I honestly haven’t seen groups of happy people in so long…

A little rain didn’t dampen our spirits, just our jackets.

So, we went to have lunch at a nice brew pub. I went to scan the online menu, and uh oh. My phone was not there. Shoot. It’s my lifeline.

The server came up to take our order, and we asked for some time so I could look for my phone. It wasn’t in the store we went to before. The only other possibility was the Uber car. I got all worried, as one would.

Nuria! Also the shirt refers to a beer.

Rather than go fetch water, Nuria stayed and helped me try to find my phone using my watch and Anita’s phone. It was so frustrating to try to log onto Uber using another phone. I kept getting things sent to my phone, which didn’t help.

I’m sure Nuria spent 20 minutes to a half hour helping me. And she was so patient, kind, and funny. Eventually we called my phone from Anita’s and the Uber driver picked it up. Hooray for Adam the Uber guy! He quickly brought my phone back and we all elbow bumped. That was another close call, for sure! Whew.

Statue near the public restrooms.

The rest of the day was so much fun. We visited fun stores, got a couple of Christmas gifts, and interacted with some wonderful store clerks. In one place, we had a great discussion, followed by some subdued jumping up and down. The women were so happy to share their relief.

Happy scenery.

The same happened at a couple other places. And we found a new hemp store full of such cute women it almost seemed impossible. More crying and laughing happened there, and we had a good talk about hemp. We all shared how much less pain and anxiety we have (it’s true). I ended up with sore cheeks from smiling.

Anita is exhausted from fun.

That’s rare. Smiling and less stress. Now, we all know the same problems we had before are still here. But maybe people will be kind, civil, and caring with each other. I hope all of our interests will be heard and count. Everyone.