Wasatch Front Watch Continued

I never thought I’d be continuing the blog comments I posted last week, but updates are in order on many of the items.

First, and most important, we think we figured out what is ailing Ethan: a “mild” case of whooping cough.  Seems there’s an epidemic of sorts out in Utah right now and folks are being urged to make sure kids are up to date on their baby shots and vaccines.  Even though Ethan had the pertussis vaccine, he still caught whooping cough and it’s certainly not pleasant.  Apparently, it’s also known as the 100 day cough and we’re not even halfway through yet.  Could be the end of April before he shakes it off.  After missing 2 weeks of school and no karate classes, he’s managing about a half day before he gets sent home.  The doctor says at this point he’s not contagious, but it sure is annoying to Ethan and those in earshot.

On top of that, I now have come down with a sore throat and the start of a cold (hopefully, it’s NOT whooping cough!) and when I was at the doctor’s with Ethan yesterday, I got a tetanus/pertussis shot so I’d be better protected.  Hope it’s not too late….

My lip has healed from the cat dangling from it and Samson and I have made up and are friends again.

We were supposed to get more snow overnight, but that ended up being 5 minutes of flurries this morning.  It’s supposed to get into the 50s this weekend, so that’s something to anticipate; a lot of the snow will melt.  I hope the bulk of the snow is behind us and we can turn our attention to spring.

In the hopes that spring is around the corner, yesterday while food shopping, I tossed the first packet of seeds into the cart: scallions.  I couldn’t help myself.  We have luck with scallions or green onions and they freeze well.  I used a lot of them last night from the freeze while making Greek meatballs for dinner.  And talking about the 2013 garden, I’ll be rethinking plants and placement to rotate some crops.  Bob’s thrilled that we’re skipping the zucchini and yellow squash this year.  We can’t possibly use all that’s produced and he hates those vegetables.  Instead, I’m putting the green beans where the squash plants usually thrive and that will free up space for cantaloupe vines.

On the local front, Syracuse town council made the news, AGAIN.  This time, they’re going after the mayor and calling for an investigation into underhand practices.  Our council is so dysfunctional that I can’t imagine Mayor Nagle running again and I don’t even know why anyone would want the job.  Apparently, in the eyes of many, it’s merely a witch hunt.  Why can’t Syracuse be in the news for positive things?

Well, while I’m feeling up to it, I better put the plastic, glass, and metal recycling bins in the car and head up to the recycling center.  The bins are up to the scuppers and won’t hold much more.  For a small family, we sure do put out a lot of trash; thank heavens Davis County offers recycling.  Salt Lake City proper doesn’t and that’s a strain on any landfill.  Breaks my heart….

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Wasatch Front Watch

These past two weeks have been doozies, both inside the front window which looks out on the Wasatch Front (our mountains) and outside as well.

Poor Ethan has been home from school for a week and a half now due to a nasty hack he just can’t shake.  It’s one of those dry, annoying (to him and those around him) coughs that are spasmodic and spontaneous.  A variety of powerful medicines don’t seem to relieve him and so the kid is pretty much house-bound.

We are finding indoor activities to quell the boredom.  Yesterday, was interesting for me, as it involved a movie and our menace of a feline.  Ethan and I were happily watching Despicable Me downstairs in the darkened family room when all of a sudden I had a cat hanging on my face–literally.  It all happened so fast, I don’t know if the dog had chased the cat or if the cat just decided to jump up on me, but to maintain his footing, Samson sank one of his claws into my upper lip.  I had to extract it before he did more damage.  I now have a sore lip and a highly improbable story.

At the moment, being house-bound isn’t all bad, as the snow which started just before Christmas, has not melted and has actually accumulated due to subsequent snowstorms; we haven’t really seen the back lawn since mid-December.  There was even a once-in-twenty-five-years ice storm in the end of January that didn’t help matters.  We’re supposed to get dual snowstorms this week: one today, mostly in the southern part of Utah and then a bigger hitter on Saturday.  Charlie is disgusted, as his “bathroom facilities” are nothing but rutted, frozen snow.  We can’t wait for it to melt to retrieve all the “treasures” from the winter months!

The "facilities" Charlie faces when he has to "go."

The “facilities” Charlie faces when he has to “go.” Lara dug a little path for him. In the back is what’s visible of the summer vegetable garden and the pile of compost.

Meanwhile, outside the window all sorts of things have happened.  There were back-to-back funerals at my church on the last two Saturdays; one was the mother of one of our members, and the second was a fellow-East Coaster and artist friend.  Then that same evening, a long-time friend back in Pennsylvania passed away.  I won’t be able to fly back for the funeral, but all these deaths sure bring home the sense of one’s mortality.

Another item that I wanted to share, and this seems as good a moment as any also involves mortality in a strange way and it’s also happening “on the outside of the window.”  One of the aftermath reactions to the December school massacre in Newtown out here in Utah has been a move to arm teachers, after the proper firearm classes and concealed weapon permits have been obtained.  Utah is part of the western heritage of a gun culture and so it is one of the states where if you have a concealed gun permit, you can carry a gun onto school property.  The next wave in this “whom do we arm?” discussion has now been extended to introducing children to gun safety and proper firing techniques.   In Utah until you’re 18, you cannot obtain a concealed weapon permit, but there is no minimum age limit to how young is too young to learn to fire a gun and, yes, to go hunting.  It’s totally at parental discretion.  The TV news segment on this showed kids who looked to be about 5 years old at the firing range, with ear protection on, aiming and firing while Dad stands by, beaming from ear to ear.  Says Dad: “Kids need to know how to protect themselves.” Really?   Not sure if I am comfortable with this picture.

So, that’s what’s happening inside and outside the window along the Wasatch Front in a slow week.  Let’s see what mayhem next week brings….

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm  Comments (1)  

Got Honey?

When I moved to Utah 3 years ago, I had to make some hard choices as to what I would pack up and take and what I would jettison.  Anyone who visited my beloved carriage house in Swarthmore was well aware that I had collected a lot of “pretty stuff.”  I nosed around antiques shops, dug through flea markets and yard sales, trolled the waters of eBay, and was a constant presence at the Friday night auctions at Briggs in Booth’s Corner.  Hence, all the stuff.  Amidt all that stuff, I had several fairly extensive collections: a Christmas holly pattern china set, eye wash cups, and honey pots.  In fact, there were so many honey pots, they lived at a friend’s house; I didn’t have room for them under my roof!  I divested myself of many treasures, but I did make the conscious decision to put all those boxes (about 10!) of honey pots and associated items on the moving van and take them west.  My reasoning was, since Utah is the Beehive State, if I ever wanted to sell them, it might be a better market.

Well, for the past 3 and a half years, they’ve remained wrapped up and stored on the shelves in the garage, awaiting the right moment to be opened and enjoyed again.  The Syracuse Museum where I volunteer was casting about for a spring featured exhibit and I again–half jokingly–offered the collection.  This time they took me up on it (desperation?) and so I get to see my honey pots again; it’s like seeing old friends once more.  It took 2 days and 3 people to unwrap the newsprint (boy, were we filthy!) and set them on tables to see what we had for arrangement purposes.  Most needed soap and water and a few needed silver polish.  Amazingly, only 7 sustained damage and some glue fixed that.

Of course, I had to write a history article for the Islander on the new exhibit (that was a bit weird) and so, here is what I wrote.  The only thing missing is the museum’s hours and address/phone number at the end, which I included for the newspaper.

 Got Honey?  New Museum Exhibit Showcases Honey Pot Collection

We’re all aware that Utah is the Beehive State; the apiary, or beehive, logo is on state route road signs, state highway patrol cars, and even the state flag.  So it’s only fitting that a private collection of over 200 honey pots and related items are now on display through the late spring at the Syracuse Museum and Cultural Center.

The collection of ceramic, porcelain, glass, and metal honey pots, sugar and creamer sets, tea pots, salt and pepper shakers, measuring cup sets, pitchers, orange juicers, plates, cookie jars, a toast rack, and even a bank with wiggly bees on springs create quite an eye-catching display.

A portion of the honey pot display.

A portion of the honey pot display.

All of the items been boxed away since 2004 and subsequently relocated to Syracuse, Utah when the owner, museum volunteer Susan Warren, retired and moved here in 2009 to join her daughter and family.  The collection started–as most collections do–with a single pot and at some point in 1996, another, different honey pot was spotted at an antique shop and purchased so the first one would “have a friend.”

Soon, two honey pots grew to several and then, as any serious collector will tell you, it became an obsession and can spiral out of control.  Auctions, flea markets, yard sales, and antique stores offered plenty of opportunities to add to the collection.  Things accelerated rapidly with the dawn of eBay at about the same time; it was like shooting fish in a barrel.  By 2002 the collection had reached the size that is now on display in the museum.  After that year, a few pots were added, but it became harder to find styles and designs not already represented.  At this point, pots of different colors, but same shape became the direction to go.

The sheer scope of the collection is amazing.  There are many “ordinary” designs that are fairly common, but tucked among the pots are some that are rare and fairly valuable.  A blue Wedgwood pot from England is quite rare; only 400 were commissioned and made by the Wedgwood Company for an international beekeepers’ convention.

Blue Wedgwood pot next to a house-shaped pot from Japan.

Blue Wedgwood pot next to a house-shaped pot from Japan.

There’s a 1930s Clarice Cliff pot; Cliff was the most prolific and possibly most important Art Deco ceramics designer of the Twentieth Century, active in England from 1922 to 1963.  Known for her Bizarre Ware designs, her ceramics are desirable and hard to find.

Other makers include: Minton; Crown Devon; Spode; Maxby; Lennox; Belleek; Frankoma; Lefton; Beswickware; and Goebel, best known for the Hummel figurines.  There is an amethyst glass pot on a saucer that looks black, but a bright light behind it reveals an inky purple color; there’s also a dainty Majolica glaze pot and several lustre ware Nippon pots.  And they’re not all round; some are square, house-shaped, or oval.  Just about any design or color one could imagine is represented.

Some of many with a clover and bee design.  The pot on the left is Irish Belleek.

Some of many with a clover and bee design. The pot on the left is Irish Belleek.

Spring will soon be here and with it the return of real honey bees.  In the meantime, stop by the museum and visit our honey bees that are “buzzing” on the collection.  The museum is located at…..  We’re open…..

Published in: on February 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm  Comments (2)  

Tax Time and Other Random Items

Okay, we coasted through January, waiting for the mail carrier to bring all the necessary documentation so we could crunch the numbers and get our IRS returns done and submitted before April 15th.

Luckily for me–who for years used to pay someone to work out my taxes–my little town of Syracuse offers a sweet service for those lucky few who jump on the open appointments (and they are limited, since it just is offered for 4 Tuesday afternoons in February).  By few, I mean you have to be retired and considered a Senior Citizen.  Retired CPAs volunteer their time end expertise (I told you it was sweet) and look at your paperwork and work out the tax return, for FREE!!!!  So I have the first appointment today at noon.  The returns get filed electronically and before I know it, my refund is deposited in my bank account.  My returns aren’t complicated (but I am a math phobic) and it only takes about a half an hour, so I’ll be done and on my way quickly.  Last year I got back all that was withheld, so that was a nice shot in my finances.

On another front, we still have a lot of snow on the ground and due to melting snow and ice from the roof, the front steps are eternally treacherous.  We’re due to get more snow at the end of the week.  Haven’t heard an estimate of how much.  We may not see the yard until late spring, but the seed packs are out on the racks in the stores, so that’s always a hopeful sign.

Tomorrow is the monthly British Wives Club lunch, of which I am a member.  I’m not a wife, nor am I particularly British (there is some Welsh ancestry hundreds of years ago, so I guess that counts), but they welcomed me when I first moved here.  We convene at my church and I was invited as a way to meet folks by another church member who is British.  They’re very nice ladies and even though I don’t have a British accent, they made me feel welcome.  One of the women, Janet, who will be celebrating her 90th birthday this month, is the daughter of former British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, so I’m hanging with the right set!

The museum is back open now and we’re in the process of dismantling the chair exhibit and the next one will be all those bee hive-shaped honey pots I collected years ago and moved out to Utah with me.  My thinking was that since Utah is the Bee Hive State, somehow they’d come into play someday or at least be more valuable out here.  Little did I think they’d be the focus of a museum exhibit.  I’ll save the details and photos for later when the exhibit is up and running, but it sure will be good to see them again; they’ve been packed away since about 2004.

The cat and dog have formed a truce and are tolerant friends.  Charlie chases Sammy down the hall occasionally, but I think it’s more for show or out of boredom.  They’ll nap close to one another, Sammy can lick Charlie’s ears, and they share the same water bowl, so mostly it’s all good.  Sammy is growing big and no longer really looks like a kitten, but he still has kitten spunk and playfulness.  He sure has a lot to say, though, and is very noisy in the morning: a great alarm clock!  In fact, Sammy has joined me while I type and is being a “helper” by walking on the keyboard.  That’s dangerous, as a few weeks ago he lost his footing while being chased by Charlie, and clawed the keyboard and took some number keys with him to the floor.  Luckily, Bob was able to fix the situation.

We’re all looking forward to spring and this month I’ll amuse myself planning the layout of the vegetable garden.

Now to get ready for my tax appointment.  Ciao!

Published in: on February 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment