Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gorgeous, but painful

Today I played a round of golf at one of the two Promontory Club courses. The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and he must have been a bit angry that day. The course is rated as the hardest in Utah and it certainly played that way.

The picture makes the course look pretty and well maintained. I have to say that it barely does the course justice. It is simply spectacular and every fairway looks like a perfect carpet. Too bad I tend to play lots of balls up in the scrub on the surrounding canyon walls. If you are beyond the rough, you can simply kiss your ball goodbye.

Promontory is a neighborhood that went under bankruptcy but is now back out. It has two gorgeous courses and very few members to play on them. We played from 8 to 12 on a 70 degree, sunny morning. We accounted for 3 of the 6 people on the course. It is hard to imagine how you can keep doing business with a course the requires so many workers to keep it in shape.

Just to be clear, I normally can't afford to golf at a course like this. Last week they plugged and sanded the greens, so they were only charging half price.

Now, off to Oregon to visit Julie's sister!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interesting times

One of the more exciting things around Park City is the recent wave of cougar sightings. We definitely have them around, but they are rarely seen inside the city. Today's paper had a report of one seen in Solamere, which is just over the hill from our house. It sounds plausible, especially given the recent number of small pets that have gone missing. Just the same, I have to wonder.

From the Park Record: The backyard does not have a fence and the mountain lion wandered into the yard. Ross says it appeared to be a housecat when he first spied the animal. "I said that's the biggest domestic cat I've ever seen, so I started walking to it to shoo it off the land," Ross says.

From Wikopedia: Cougars are slender and agile cats. Adults stand about 2.0 to 2.5 ft tall at the shoulders. The length of adult males is around 8 feet long nose to tail. Males typically weigh between 115 to 198 pounds, averaging 137 lb. Females typically weigh between 64 and 141 lb, averaging 93 lb.

I thought it was a domestic cat? That's like seeing a moose and saying "I thought it was a squirrel." I wonder what he really saw.

In an unrelated topic, Julie was summoned to be on jury duty on Wednesday and Thursday. She looked on the docket and saw that it was a high-profile local case. Teddy Dupay, an ex-Florida basketball player was charged with rape, kidnapping, and sexual assault up at Stein's. Big local news! He ended up pleading out at the last moment and Julie didn't have to serve. Would have been interesting though.

One more: When I first joined IBM, I dated a girl, Jennifer Wilson, who was co-oping from Penn State. We dated for a year or so, and have kept up ever since. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent quite a bit of treatment, including chemo. Here she is doing a hike, complete with hair growing back.

She is doing fine now and as a way to celebrate and kick her life back into gear, she decided to join a fund raiser for breast cancer. Most people stick with the little 5k walks. Nope. She joined a group that is climbing Mt Shasta, a 14,000 footer in California. Over the past few days, they got up to base camp and did some acclimating and additional training. Today is the big climb.

This is a serious climb, not a hike. Leave before 3:00am. Head lamps in the dark. Climb all day. Snow. Ropes. You can see details of her climb at
Oh, they ended up raising over $16,000 to help prevent breast cancer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Grand Table

Park City used to have an event called the Grand Table. They closed down Main Street and the local restaurants put tables out for some al fresco dining. For some reason, they lost interest and stopped doing this for a decade. Last year they started it back up and this year we joined the party.

Each restaurant publishes a menu for the event and you sign up with your choice. We went with Mustang, who had a huge table.

Our gang is at one end of the table: Julie on the left and Bill, Loris and Shannon Benson on the right. The food was excellent. The bad news is that we drank four bottles of wine and some margaritas.

Our table was at the bottom of Main Street. This picture is looking back up the street. It doesn't look like much, but there are tables running all the way up to the very top of Main Street. Many, many hundreds of diners eating out in what turned out to be a gorgeous evening.

I woke up Saturday morning to see that someone must have left a pot of gold in town.

Trying to beat the inevitable rain, I went out for my long run of the week. I did about 10.5 miles, but was really dragging. Something about all that wine the night before seemed to have an impact.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Red ball fever

Jasper wanted me to post these pictures from his morning romp. You just can't beat a go with the red ball on a rope.

What a work out!

Sleepless in Seattle?

Sal Lake City had measurable rain on 12 of the first 15 days of June. The rain is at 377% of normal for this month. By the way, June is the 3rd driest month in Utah.

We've been here for a week and haven't seen the thermometer hit 70 yet.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Air Mouse

I have been a big fan of my iPhone and all the cool applications that are being developed for it. Today I found one that is the most amazing integration between a phone and a PC I have seen. For many of you, this application won't be terribly useful, but even then, it is impressive.

I have a PC set up as a Home Theater computer. It is down in the wiring closet, out of the way. You can watch it on all the TVs, but the control through a standard remote is very basic.

I read about Air Mouse Mobile. It allows my iPhone to become a dynamic remote, mouse, and keyboard. If you are interested, go to the link above and click on the demo tab. It is a video that runs you through all the features and functions.
  • Slick graphics
  • Very powerful
  • Setup took about 1 minute
  • Costs $1.99
Gadgets are getting better!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

When a town of 8,000 acts like a town of 800

Park City is celebrating its 125th birthday today. Should be a great event. Bands. A parade. A big party. Julie, Jasper and I went down to Main Street and immediately ran into our builder, Rob Schumacher and his dog Elvis.

We went up the the area where the parade was queuing up. This is it. The whole thing.

Even if the parade didn't show, there were quite a few spectators. I would guestimate 500-1000.

Some people were all dressed up, dancing and singing.

Others were marching to advertise the famous "Mucking and Drilling Contest". This is mining technology for those who aren't up on such things.

Historic preservation is big with the opening of our new museum.

Mostly we felt the parade was so small and pitiful that we had to add mass. Julie, Rob, Jasper, Elvis and I just got in line and marched down Main St with everyone else. Jasper had a great time. Dozens of the spectators wanted to pet him. Nice to have a dog that doesn't intimidate anyone.

This celebration was pretty pitiful, but just the same, any excuse to have a party down on Main St is a great idea. Park City does know how to do a parade and party, but you have to wait until July 4th.

Little steps (but thousands of them)

How do you know you are starting to transition from someone trying to jog to a legitimate runner? When you go out and do 9 miles in the 50 degree drizzle and come home happy with your run.

112 days to the St George marathon!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back in Seattle?

I would swear we were on a flight to Park City and it does look like our house, but it sure doesn't look like our weather. They had a lot of rain the week before we came. It has rained every day since. It is supposed to rain for the next few days.

Doesn't it know that this is a high-altitude desert?

No one around can remember it ever being quite this green and lush. By mid-June, we are normally done with green and are starting to head to a lovely brown.

What happens when you make your first trip back to the grocery store to restock the pantry and find raspberries for $1 a box instead of the normal $4? Steve buys 10 boxes. Yummmmm!

Of course it wouldn't be Park City without going out and drinking wine. Stephen Elrick discovered a nice wine tasting being held at Wahso. It was being done by the Caymus winery. They make a great cab, Conundrum (one of my favorite whites), and Belle Glos (who makes a great Pinot). Quite the deal. Lots of good appetizers and excellent wines for $40.

I would hate to have to wash glasses after a wine tasting. They are way too serious about every wine having a fresh glass.

It is wonderful to be back out to the mountains and cool air, but I am still waiting for a nice sunny day.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A joke from Anne Schick

So after landing my new job as a WalMart greeter, a good find for many retirees, I lasted less than a day......

About two hours into my first day on the job a very loud, unattractive, mean-acting woman walked into the store with her two kids, Yelling obscenities at them all the way through the entrance. As I had been instructed, I said pleasantly, 'Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart. Nice children you have there. Are they twins?'

The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say,'Hell no, they ain't twins. The oldest one's 9, and the other one's 7. Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you blind, or just stupid?' So I replied, 'I'm neither blind nor stupid, Ma'am, I just couldn't believe someone slept with you twice. Have a good day and thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.'

My supervisor said I probably wasn't cut out for this line of work.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Heading back to Park City

As summer starts to roll in, it is time for us to head back to Park City. If all goes as planned, this will be the last trip to Raleigh for the pets. The cat and dog would each have about 40,000 frequent flier miles if the airline would give them to animals. Enough is enough though. Time for them to stay in Park City. Cosette will definitely miss breakfast on the screen porch. She grabs a chair every morning.

Jasper will miss his big fenced-in back yard. The treasured red ball he loves so much is definitely heading to PC with us.

Our house is still for sale. We have had some nice visits from people with good feedback, but so many people looking "just need to sell their home first". That doesn't seem too likely. At least we aren't in a hurry.

I took this picture a few days ago. I thought it was cool how you can see the rays of sunlight. It gives the fountain an ethereal look. Then I realized that you aren't supposed to be able to see rays of light. The only way that works is if you have so much humidity that the moisture is reflecting the light. Yuck!

Flowers, flowers every where! Some coneflowers.

Some astilbe (which spell check thinks should be Bastille)

...and our treasured roses. Julie's dad gave us these roses on a visit to Raleigh.

If you haven't seen them, these are the two guardians of the house. They are the first thing you see as you walk up to the front door.

Too bad there is no obvious place for them at our Park City house. Poor planning on my part.

I wonder if someone buying our house will leave them in place or rip them off the first day they move in.

Off to the Post Office to mail ourselves some stuff.

One more night out

I did one more night out with the guys before heading to Park City. Mark Reid, Jim Saunders and I went down to Glenwood South. Dinner at Sullivan's followed by drinks at The Hibernian and then Solas. It is amazing how that part of town has changed over the last decade. The old warehouses, factories and offices are now a collection of nice bars and restaurants. It was a Saturday night, but I am still astounded at how packed all the places were at 2:00.

Mark was smart enough to arrange for us to use a cab instead of driving. Unfortunately I accomplished three things I hadn't done in a while.
  • Home from partying at 3:00 (I'm getting old)
  • Sleeping in until 8:30 (it has been years since I slept that late)
  • A hangover that lasts for the better part of the day. This could be the result of the chemical mix of beer, wine, and liquor. Probably best to pick one and stay with it.
Nice to see that downtown Raleigh is building up a healthy nightlife. Better to see a nice concentration of destinations. It makes it easy to wander from place to place without having to hop in a cab.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Golf done correctly

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions in my blog, I suck at golf. That doesn't mean I only have to associate with other crappy golfers.

We have traveled to France four times for skiing vacations. On the last three trips, a guy named Paul Simson was part of the group. Here he is back in 2007. He's a good skier, but an unbelievable golfer.

He lives here in Raleigh so I see bits and pieces about his performance in the local paper. I ran across one lately saying that he had, once again, won the North Carolina Senior Amateur. First, think about how big golf is in NC. There are courses everywhere. People retire here with the idea of playing lots of golf. Paul won this year's event by 12 strokes! No one even came close.

This all fits with Paul's two wins in the British Senior Amateur in the last three years.

It clearly doesn't make sense for me to golf with Paul. At least I can ski with him and hope to gain golfing skills through osmosis.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A trip to Royal Oak

Julie and I took a trip to Royal Oak, Michigan for a long weekend. Royal Oak is about 20 miles outside of Detroit. It was a great weekend. We had cool weather and lots of things to do.

Here Julie and her mom Joan are sitting out on the back patio with a bit of wine.

We went to a graduation party for Patrick Donnelly. He is a son of one Julie's cousins. You may have heard me talk about visiting Bill and Kathleen Donnelly for Michigan football games. Patrick is the second oldest of three children.

Thanks goodness they had a tent set up in their back yard. It was quite breezy and cold. Here are Julie's mom, uncle, and Julie.

Patrick (left) and Michael (right). Patrick just graduated high school and will be joining his older brother Michael at Michigan State.

On Saturday we went to a wedding from Julie's dad's side of the family. Outdoor weddings are always scary. The weather forecast was for late afternoon thunderstorms. Instead, we got the gorgeous blue skies you see in the background.

Left to right: Julie Joyce, Bill Donnelly, Kathleen Donnelly, Tom Fernane, Nancy Donnelly and Eileen Durant.

Julie and I

One of the oddest events of the weekend came on Thursday. We went to lunch at a nice bistro and then went wandering through some of stores and galleries. In an art gallery, we ran across Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Yes, the infamous Dr. Death. Turns out he is out of jail and lives in Royal Oak where he writes, paints and composes. He is currently working on a book about how the growing human population will be the end of everything.

On Friday evening, we went to dinner with Bill and Kathleen Donnelly. They took us to Slow's Barbecue in downtown Detroit. It is an excellent place for dinner if you happen to be there.

After dinner we headed to the true definition of a dive bar. Tom's Tavern is in a "less desirable" part of Detroit. It has been around for many decades and hadn't had much of a facelift until an SUV drove into the front.

Like an old speakeasy, you had to knock and then wait for the front door to be unlocked.

It is hard to see the details because my iPhone doesn't do well in low light. Notice how the bar is tilted. It isn't just the picture. The bar really slants down enough that beers can just roll right on down.

On Monday we started for home. What a nice trip. First we stop at a gas station that wouldn't take my credit card. Then we take a different route to find gas. No problem, until leaving the gas station. After pulling out into traffic, I apparently picked up too much speed and got pulled by a policeman. Speeding in a construction zone can be ugly. He was kind and only wrote me up for driving without seat belts.

We got to the airport on time. At the gate we learned out plane was delayed because of equipment problems. And delayed. And delayed. So they sent us to a new gate and a new plane. Smart choice by the airline. They gave us a new plane that needed two tires replaced. More delay. We took off over two hours late.

It was a great trip but it is good to be home with the pets. Now we are down to a week before heading to Park City.