Friday, August 26, 2011

Muddy Day

Happy Friday!

School started Wednesday and I'm still recovering. Time changes are always an adjustment for me. I don't mind getting up earlier during the school year, but I do have to get used to it. During the summer I stay up late, usually working an hour or two around midnight. But during the school year I can't stay up that late and still function well the next day, so I get most of my work done in the mornings. Daylight savings stuff messes me up as well. Hopefully I'll be on track by the middle of next week.

My son is a junior in high school this year. He's got a good schedule (if the school can get a physics teacher in place, but that's another post) and he's playing football. He loves football and I'm a big fan of the sport, but I do worry (obsessively, sometimes) about him getting hurt. He got pretty beat up last night but since they won, he had a great time. These boys turn into one big bruise only a couple weeks into the season. Keep your fingers crossed that he stays healthy.

Last night was JV, tonight is varsity. He got up today, got ready, excitedly put his jersey on - varsity players get to wear their jersey the day of the games, and this is his first year playing varsity so he was pumped. Anyway, he left but then returned home only a few minutes later. And he was covered in mud. It was one of the strangest moments I can remember. Apparently, he had his window down and a bus drove past him and through a puddle. He was covered and the inside of his car was covered. Crazy. We got him and the car cleaned up and he headed back to school, but that will be one of those weird things we'll remember forever, I suppose.

If you have one, I hope your back-to-school transition is going well and I hope your kids have a great year. I'm sure before we know it we'll be talking about winter break.

I've only been reading my stuff lately. I seem to be in the middle of a bunch of deadlines - some for final manuscripts, some for first drafts, etc. I think I'll be able to start reading other books some time in October. Hope you're reading some great books.

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Ice Cream, Please

This is both my facebook status and blog update for the day:

I did a little short distance traveling this week and these are the things I learned: It seems that cell phones work *everywhere* now, even in the middle of nowhere; I LOVE Tillamook Oregon Strawberry Ice Cream - so much so that I dreamt about it two nights in a row; and, I'm afraid to see THE HELP movie because I think it will ruin the book, which I happen to LOVE, but not as much as Tillamook Oregon Strawberry Ice Cream. Have a great weekend!

The only addition I'd like to make is this - I read a paperback this week. It wasn't a very good book, just something I picked up on the road because I forgot my Nook. It was fun to hold and read. I do enjoy the Nook, but there really is nothing like holding a book. Sigh. I'm already becoming nostalgic for the "old days" and they're not even old yet.

Have a great week!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Home Sweet HGTV Dream Home

My husband is one of those people who can build things and fix things (unless the problem has something to do with the washing machine belt, apparently). He loves DIY and HGTV. I enjoy them too but for different reasons. I have no desire to build my own gazebo or fashion a table from an old castle door - hmm, actually that sounds kind of interesting. I do like to watch others doing such things, however. Anyway, for a few years he's made sure to faithfully enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway contest. Last year's home was in Stowe, Vermont. Before that I think they were in Colorado and New Mexico. If we'd won, I doubt I could have been convinced to move to Vermont (nothing against Vermont, I just don't want to move some place that has more winter than Utah), but I'd have gone to Colorado and New Mexico. Of course, we didn't win.

Well, this year the Dream Home is being built in Utah - about thirty minutes and a world away from Salt Lake City.

Midway, Utah is east of Salt Lake City, a drive up a canyon and into the mountains. You take I-80 to the exit past the Park City exit and drive toward Heber, Utah. Heber is actually the town that Midway is next to and more of a town than Midway - it's small but it has its share of fast food and other cafe-type restaurants, banks, convenience stores, and grocery stores (we even found one open on Sunday which is rare in smaller Utah towns). It's a beautiful area, still wide open with some farmland and lots of horses. There's even a small airport/landing strip on the edge of Heber. We saw a tiny plane land the day we were there and I wondered who in the world would need to fly into Heber, Utah on Sunday.

The HGTV home is actually in a neighborhood in Midway - this surprised me; I thought it would be out in the middle of nowhere. The plots of land are large and the homes aren't close together, but there are other homes around, all of them beautiful.

Here's the HGTV home in its current state with a finished home in the background.

There were security cameras all around and a security guy in a truck who gave us dirty looks so we couldn't get too close, but here it is from a couple other angles.

Here's the house that was in the background.

Since we couldn't get any closer and probably wouldn't have trudged through the weeds anyway, we didn't get a good picture of the Provo River that runs behind the HGTV house. You might be able to see it in this shot that was taken from the road in between the two houses.

Here's a better shot of the river. If you travel around that bend about a hundred yards, you'll be behind the HGTV home.

Here's a real fisherman who looks like he should be in A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT.

As you can see, it's a beautiful area. It is a small town, though. No Barnes and Nobles. I don't think there are any movie theaters close by. Of course, there are good things about that too. The weather is also significantly different from Salt Lake City. The winters can last a long, long time up there. Here's a shot of the mountains to the west of Midway.

That picture was taken last Sunday and there is still snow in the mountains. It was stormy the day we drove up so the temperature difference was more significant than normal. It was 80-something in Salt Lake and 61 in Midway which might sound wonderful if you're in a heatwave but January's not so appealing, I promise.

I'm sure my husband will enter as frequently as allowed. I'd be okay winning this one even with the colder weather. I love Utah and would probably enjoy such a house even if I needed to wear my parka a little longer. If you enter and win, I'd love a tour. I'll bring cookies and hot chocolate and we could sit out on the back patio and watch the river go by. Hey, that doesn't sound all bad.

Good luck!