Tag: spring break

Bible Crossing: Spring Break Part 3

bible crossingDudes. Duuuuuuuuudes! Mormons are serious about their bibles! They even carry them on cross walk signs.

coolest SLC

You will kindly ignore the misspelling of “poncy”. I’ve heard that Salt Lake City is cool but I really couldn’t believe it until I experienced it for myself. This is why it’s important to get out of dodge and see a few things for one’s self.

good food

We loved this place. First of all, the building is a protected art deco piece of history. Second of all, the food was great. Max tried lots of new stuff and liked some of it. I had a really good grilled cheese sandwich with tomato basil soup and fries. Max had lamb kabobs with tzatziki sauce and really liked it. Philip had a burger.

Max at Lambs

He also had a teriyaki rice bowl with chicken and vegetables. Apparently he now likes rice even when it isn’t in sushi. Loose rice. He wouldn’t eat loose rice even before he got super picky. Rice and pasta were never on his acceptable foods list. I love how much he’s growing with his food exploration. He tried broccoli and cauliflower at this meal too but didn’t like them. I didn’t even ask him to try them. I don’t ask him to try much anymore because his food exploration is largely self-propelled.

steven seagal was here

I was told by a local person to make special note about this building which she saw me admiring and taking pics of:

This building was used for the filming of a Steven Seagal movie recently. They filmed an explosion here.

film site Steven Seagal

She was a proud city-worker and it was really important to her that I include that hot tid-bit with my trip notes. Done!


Squatters was the first and last place we ate in Salt Lake city. We love it. They have a beer called “Polygamy”, so how can you not love it?


Max got to meet E’s nephew who is definitely cut from the same cloth as Max.

a grand time

The last thing I saw in Salt Lake City were these grand treats set out for the unwary and the desperate. I don’t believe there’s a real Mrs. Freshly. That’s a little too on the nose, don’t you think? “Freshly” for something so completely contrary to all notion of “fresh” I know of.

desert dread

I was so taken with the salt flats I could easily have spent a few hours enjoying it. I would have loved to have had time to walk across the expanse of it to the hills in the distance.

Max on the salt flats

Teens are so hard to impress.

Philip at the flats

We got there just after the sun rose. It was so pretty. We got to see the flats at dusk and dawn. That’s pretty cool.

pool of salt water

That’s right, I took 40 billion pictures of the flats. It’s not like I’ll probably ever see it again.

salt filaments  So much texture and color to examine and appreciate!The ART

Look Pam and Elizabeth! I finally saw THE ART! I can finally rest knowing that I have seen it.

walking on salt

Oh, did you think I was done yet? No way. Look at how that looks like snow but isn’t.

wet crust

Wet salt-crusted rocks.


This is the last pretty sight for hundreds of miles. Bye bye Utah!


Ooops! Hang on, one more salt picture. It’s like if this was the moon and it was covered in salt.

the devil plays here

And then, once again, we had to drive through Lucifer’s junk yard where poets and writers splint the broken bones of mankind’s soul and artists get excited about the almost imperceptible washes of color that cover the brown hills and flats for 400 pitiless miles of desert.

Salt Lake City Surprise: Spring Break Part 2

ominous fairytale

One of the things I enjoyed the most about Salt Lake City were the trees. While it’s situated in a desert state and surrounded by desert, SLC has so many beautiful trees in bloom this time of year or just beginning to bud.

SLC surpriseOnce in J and E’s neighborhood, it’s easy to forget the nightmare of trying to find it through a string of freeways that look like gummy spaghetti thrown down violently on a map.       old truck

There are strange corners in Salt Lake City. Not bad neighborhoods, necessarily, but strange and creepy exits that lead to nowhere and have NO WAY OUT.

wrong exit

J and E live on Capital Hill in the Marmalade District at the “dodgy” end and the hill itself is like a giant wall enclosing it all. There are houses looking down on you that appear to have a slightly hostile stare. Also on that hill is Fort Douglas, an old army base that was built to look over the city and keep an eye on the Mormons back when they were restless to separate from the rest of the country.

slc hill

Like the history of all human beings, Mormon history is full of dark deeds, illicit fornication, and scandal. There is no history involving humans without bloodshed or creepy sex. Doesn’t matter what religion you belong to or if you have no religion at all. Where humans go, so goes the whole neighborhood. Says the birds who click their tongues in disgust as we savage each other and desecrate the planet… but wait – back to sex!


The legend of J and E’s house might not be true but we enjoyed believing it and considering how many wives the dude supposedly had, the chances that one of them was housed where we stayed isn’t all that outrageous.

Luna and BenderLuna and Bender are J and E’s rescue dogs and we had such a good time hanging out with those looney-tune dogs. Such sweeties. You know what I love about dogs? They don’t give a shit who you have sex with or what you do for a living and they really couldn’t be bothered to worry over how Jesus does or doesn’t fit into your life, as long as you are kind to them and feed them and play with them. They don’t care if you have both boobs and a penis or if you had to get a leg amputated to save your life or if you were born with no hair.

hang tight

You can tell most Mormons from non-Mormons even if they’re wearing modern clothes. They have a quality. They have a je-ne-sais-quoi. It’s the same way you can tell I’m a Californian and that I’m liberal.

too bright

Maybe it’s my make-up or my Keen’s that give the show away. Maybe it’s my nose ring and my messenger bag. Probably it’s a combination of factors. Then I open my mouth and give the whole show away to those who haven’t guessed it yet. So yes, you really can spot Mormons in a crowd most of the time. And it’s fun. And I feel a little twinge of guilt saying that and feeling that because Mormons are not a side show. Mormons are not in a zoo. They are not living their life to amuse me.

I have been stared at and pointed to all my life. When people clearly express derision or hatred it hurts me or angers me. But the truth is that if you live and dress differently than the majority of the people around you, they will be curious about you and they will stare. Often it’s simply because you’re interesting and it’s enjoyable to see new and different things and people around us. Sometimes they stare because you’re like a strange dream they had once when they took too much Vicodin and there you are in front of them in all your vibrant weirdness like a flashback. Human curiosity is a beautiful thing. It keeps us asking questions, looking for fresh inspiration, for new horizons, for deeper understanding of our fellow beings.

So what I’m saying is that traveling to Salt Lake City and seeing lots of Mormons is just as interesting to me as hanging out in Paris to watch the parade of French fashion and culture drift past me or as cool as it was to hang out in Old Jerusalem and see the train of medieval looking Christian nuns pass solemnly by after the group of Muslim tourists stopped to get refreshments near our table. People watching is one of my favorite things to do and comes from a place of clean curiosity.

I love trees

So I sat in Temple square watching the crowds walk pass by, picking out the Mormons from the non- Mormons, enjoying the gorgeous trees, the Gothic architecture, and thinking about all the things that bind humans together across belief systems, race, origin, politics, and personal tastes. Salt Lake City is a strange mix of progressive and conservative politics and lifestyles. There’s a lot of opportunity to witness people attempting to find where the middle is between extremes.

Bender and ball

Bender doesn’t have time to think about how religion and politics mix and – well – should never mix. He’s a dog with a ball. The ball may as well be Jesus as far as he’s concerned.

Max and Luna

Luna was skittish around Max the first day of our visit. Bender loved him at once. This is Luna the second morning we stayed with her after she decided Max is awesome.

dogs hanging with Max

J and E are incredible hosts. They always have such wonderful homes – their decorating is warm and full of art and J’s handmade furniture. We always feel at home hanging out with them.

pretty living room

Philip relaxing in the morning before we head out for a walk to down town with Max to get lunch and see what there is to see.

pretty succulents

I clearly need more succulents in my life. I also need to spend a little more time arranging my space so that it’s inviting and inspiring and pretty. This is something I can work on until I have to get a day job again. Today I’m going to work on Winters Apothecary and procuring some needed supplies so I can make more products for the shop while Philip works on making my labels better. So much to do!

Crossing the Great Basin Desert: Spring Break Part 1

dangerous weeds

The last vacation we had was in 2008. We never have the money. In spite of being laid off two weeks ago we decided to take off on a road trip to visit our friends J and E in Salt Lake City during spring break in a spur-of-the-moment decision. To get to Utah from California you have to cross 400 miles of Nevada on the I 80E highway.

400 miles

It looks pretty much like this for all 400 miles. Considering how big the United States is, 400 hundred miles might not seem like much, but believe me – it’s a punishing drive. I’ve been through part of the Mojave desert in California and Nevada and thought that was a thirsty god-forsaken stretch of land but it’s nothing compared to this endless empty stretch of country.

hard living flower

This hearty wildflower/weed was the brightest thing in that desert not including the sun beating down through God’s giant toy magnifying glass of a sky. Did I say God? If I believed in God I would feel abandoned in this landscape.


I couldn’t quite shake the fear that our clunker of a car would break down somewhere between Fernly and Winnemucca. Too bad if you’re bleeding out from a car wreck, expect to die. Emergency services are all very far away. I admit that I packed food and water as though I expected to get stuck on I 80.

picnic for desperados

This is how I imagine al fresco dining in prison yards to be. I will say that most of the rest stops had decently clean and equipped bathrooms. I can’t say the same for the rest stops on I 5 through California and Oregon. But at this stop I couldn’t bring myself to use them. Truly, I worried I might get murdered in it.


By the time we made our way to Winnemucca, the only decent habitation along the entire length of that Nevada Highway, it had become our favorite game to come up with epic insults about Nevada to vent our feelings.

Great Basin Desert

Max’s final assessment of Nevada:



But our insults must be tempered with the fact that I know quite a few very cool people who come from Nevada. Please forgive our violent feelings!


One of the great things about trips like this is to see with our own eyes the wildly different landscapes that are part of our country. We looked up information on The Great Basin Desert as we drove through it and learned some things about it. My son will never forget Nevada now. He’ll never take trees or water for granted.


After 400 miles of brown desert, casinos lodged in every available crevice of habitation, and the endless parade of tiny townships that were no more than a handful of dilapidated trailer homes with a broken down barn or store, the salt flats just inside the Utah border were delightfully refreshing. We got there at dusk just in time to see the pink sky reflected in the pale expanse of salt crust.