Thursday, 2 June 2011

Back From Moab, Almost Ready To Return

We took a few days off at the weekend to enjoy our two year anniversary. As great as it was to return to an area that means so much to us sentimentally I have to say I needed to get away just to recharge the batteries. The long hours at work and no time off was beginning to take its toll.

We have been back less than a week and I feel the need to run off somewhere again. It's partly the fickle Utah weather this year and partly my only daft fault. In my eagerness to give the wife a garden she could be proud off I made plans to turn one weed infested side area into a vegetable garden and turn a vole damaged lawn into a fruit tree, tomato plant, hydrangea, sun and shade perennial, B-B-Q hosting heaven, only our freaky Spring weather has got in the way of those plans. Its starting to feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew. Working 6 days a week on other peoples gardens doesn't leave a lot of time for our own.When I get home each night I pretty much have 2 hours to work before it gets dark which means there just isn't enough hours in do everything., especially if those rain clouds don't stay away. Thanks to all that rain and snow we have been getting lately the vegetable garden that should be just about planted up is actually only one fifth weeded and sown. I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed so much to do so little time. A few more weeks of this and I will be saying to the wife its time to run off to Moab again.

 Same site slightly different angle
So many arches in one place I forgot the name of this one. It will likely come to me after I finish publishing.

 Old style, Native American graffiti
 Presumedly, New American, commissioned graffiti mural

 A whole lot of red sandstone in the Arches National Park, plenty to remake the Glasgow tenements here in Utah but not a huge amount of water so its always nice to see when you are gasping on a hot hike.
 Delicate Arch
The growing masses waiting for Sunset at Delicate Arch. 

We gave up. The same wind that was to give us a restless night in our tent later on, made it not worth the wait, especially as their was no sign of that orange hue appearing that we had hoped for.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Stupid Weather

It's been a nice few weeks. Work has been busy. The weather has been getting noticeably warmer for a while now. The leaves have even come out in the trees in the Spring shy canyon in which we live. So with some time on my hands I was finally getting around to planning the vegetable garden. 

Thoughts turned to putting corn on the grill, cabbage in my tacos, watermelon dribbling from my chin on a hot summers day and fresh garden tomatoes in my father-in-law's spaghetti to name but a few home grown delights.
When I look out the window to see huge big chunks of snow falling from the sky. Seriously? It's the 17th of May! It was 26C on Saturday.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hiking In Little Cottonwood

It has been a long winter here in Salt Lake, followed by a spring that can be best described as fickle and schizophrenic. One day I'm getting a burnt neck whilst working and getting the crap from the wife that that entails, next I'm rushing off home trying to avoid the snow and hail. I'm almost missing the weather from Scotland, at least that is predictably bad.

Anyway our two year anniversary is fast approaching and despite the weather we need to get in hiking shape for our trip to Moab at the end of May. So on Sunday we took the opportunity to enjoy a couple of hours worth of blue skies and went for a hike right here in Salt Lake.

Predictably the snow still lying on the ground steadily got worse the higher we got, which ultimately prevented us from reaching our goal.

However I have to admit to being a very proud man when I saw my wife pick up a small rock and throw it away in a moment of frustration. It might not exactly be good mountain etiquette but no one was hurt from the act and its progress indeed from someone who not so long ago didn't want to climb over immovable gates, or who would shy away from the noise of barking animals in the distance when enjoying the great outdoors. (We Scots are a strange breed and take pride in the strangest of things)

By the time she picked up her third, I was trying so hard to suppress my laugh that I wasn't at all confident that I could avoid it if I found it come flying in my direction.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Best Laid Plans .... And The Universe

Do you ever feel that your life is at the mercy of other peoples cock ups?

Generally I don't, but sometimes I wonder.

It was just under 3 years ago that I met somechileanwoman and with getting to know one another we realised we had something special and so we made plans to be together. A short few months after we did so the world was coming to terms with the fact the bankers of the world turned out to be members of the union of greedy wankers and that everyone was pretty much screwed. It was then that we realised we had to readjust our plans, dreams and expectations downward.

This we did, it took us time but eventually with hard work we came out the other end. Forgetting the trip that never was, due to car trouble, last year was a good year. It was a year we got our crap together. In the space of a year we made some real improvements in our life. Debts were paid, we moved into a new home and though the winter was a long one we had our tax refund to look forward to.

Ah the tax refund.We dared not dream too high but we waited for our tax specialist to submit it with eager anticipation. After waiting since the end of January, 2 weeks ago we got the result - a nice check of $3921 deposited into our account courtesy of Uncle Sam.

We put some aside into the savings account and celebrated with the rest by buying that much needed new bed and mattress that we had been longing for for sometime. Only now it turns out that our tax 'specialist' might have got it wrong and we might have to give some of it back.

I'm not too worried, winter is finally releasing its grip and my clients are starting to get me back to work on their gardens but I am getting mightily pissed off at money people taking shortcuts.

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Blame Game

It seems every where you look today in the US there is division. The Republicans and Democrats can't agree on a budget for the country and so are pushing the country to an enforced shutdown. The NBA league could shut down for next season because the players union can't find an agreement with the franchise owners regarding profitability of teams (or lack thereof) and players wages. Likewise a similar shutdown could happen in the NFL.

What the hell is going on? No one seems to know how to talk anymore. They can't even agree about what they are disagreeing about.

I am not going to feel sorry about the Lebron James or Kobe Bryant type players if the NBA was to shut down next season but is anyone thinking about the young college kids who have worked so hard over the past couple of years to get a shot at the NBA or NFL? How are those kids going to cope if they make themselves available for the draft, find themselves picked and then not play for a year, sitting in the sidelines while waiting for a new crop of young players to come in the following season. That second crop of kids will probably have a better chance of establishing themselves that year because they will have been playing in competitive action for a year, instead of pumping weights in the gym. The answer for some of the players is not to declare themselves for the draft and stay on in college for a year longer. For the senior players though this is their make or break time they don't have the option of leaving it for another year. Some of the younger players don't want to miss out either. This might be their only shot, a bad injury in college next year may mean they get overlooked next year, or a bad run by their college team could affect their chances of being forgotten.

As serious a situation this might be for the lesser players in the sport or for those sportsmen trying to establish themselves, it is just sport. The Government and the Republicans should know better. A shutdown of the government because both sides can't reach agreement on the US budget will mean 800,000 people won't be able to go to work, or get paid, until an agreement is reached. That will be a lot of families struggling to pay mortgages or put food on the table. Now how does that help a country that is supposed to be on its knees?

And why was that law ever agreed in the first place? And why would any opposition want to hold a government to ransom in this way? Is no one thinking of the children that might affected here?

Talk, listen, talk again, compromise, its easy, or maybe not.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Just A Few Of The Things I have Learned About Utah

There is a reason the car number plates boast 'the greatest snow on earth', winters here are long.

When the snow does finally end, the sun is hot and not Scotsman friendly.

Likewise the grass is not soft and baby friendly

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Some words are easier to say than others. Others nots so much. Like the word - sorry - even when you know it makes you a complete arsehole for not being able to say sometimes its remains difficult to spit it out. Granted if you had to spit it out, that would probably make it worse than not saying it at all. Not to mention it would be a tad bit messy.

Some words you know are going to be difficult in advance. For me repeating just about anything in Spanish fits that bill. But on occasions English words do it too. I felt for sure that I could predict an upcoming headache 2 years ago.

As I was approaching the big day I thought I was going to struggle with making the word 'wife' part of vocabulary afterwards. Up until then I had been pretty much single all my life. I was married to my job for much of my adult years and never really found the time for relationships or ever gave it any consideration that there was any chance that I would get married and then I met the woman and I was a goner.

I thought it might take me a few months of getting used to the concept of being married before I could say 'my wife' without it sounding like a foreign language I wasn't used to.

But I needn't have worried from day one 'my wife' this and 'wife' that slipped into my conversations as smoothly as Scotland slips out of competitive football competitions. I refused though to believe that I am a whooped man and preferred to think that I was just proud, or something like that. But then last night happened and I am forced to reassess.

Picture the scene. It's early morning. We're sleeping. I'm spooning her, as I often do. She farts, like couples are apt to do in the comfort of their own bed especially so when they are asleep and are not in control of their own bodies. I wake with a startle, as I feel the gust of air on my leg. I quickly assess the situation and decide its time to turn away to the other side of the bed. Only I find myself waking later in exactly the same position as before, due to the same reason. Apparently I can't help myself even when I know its in my best interests.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ooh! Drip Of Nutella!

Regular viewers of Family Guy will be familiar with the sketch where the James Woods character is distracted from the idea of getting revenge on Peter Griffen by a piece of candy, but surely no one would be stupid enough to fall into such an obvious trap thats only going to lead to harm to self?

That's where I can step up to the plate. (hmmm baseball term, I'm becoming more American all the time)

I was feeling a little peckish just a short time ago, so I decided that maybe it was time to make myself a piece of bread and nutella.

As I was spreading the nutella on the bread I spotted a dribble of nutella on my thumb. Well I couldn't let some nutella go to waste - this is after all the same person who would stick is finger in the jar to scrape every last bit hazlenutty goodness before throwing a jar in the bin.

It was only as my finger was approaching my tongue that I realised something wasn't quite right - by which time momentum could not be reversed.

Finger makes contact with a wet tongue and pain oozes out. Sonofabitch!

Somehow as I glanced at my finger and thought I saw nutella I had somehow managed in the same instant to forget I had cut my finger yesterday making chips (fries), and that brown looking splodge was just old blood under the surface of an open wound.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Sometimes I wonder how the hell I got to be part of a Mormon Latino family. Moments like these happen when I am struggling to understand what they are saying.

It's liitle use to have conversations with me in Spanish as I may as well be partially deaf. I try to tune to my ear to conversations around me but try as I might I cannot hear much of what my adopted family say to me. The mere fragments of communication I can establish is pretty much built up of nods and gestures, and the reading of lips for those few words that I have been able to pick up on in my two years here. Words that by themselves may something but when put together mean very little because they very rarely come up in conversation all at once.  In fact in my experience, they don't.

  vamos.... chancho.... loco....  flaco.... hombre.... pechuga.... gracias.... gustas... carne.... malo.... tengo..... mucha.... y.... fresca.... gringo.... perdon.... sol.... pollo... grande.... amigo.... te  are all words that only come into fragments of conversations if at all.

I would like to understand more deeply what my newly extended family have to say  in the vague hope that it might lead to a better connection. When we have the family over for events like Thanksgiving or whatever I follow their gestures and their shouts and look into their eyes in the hope that finally by some miracle of the universe that something will just click and I will be able to pick up the conversation. Yet, though I think I have caught glimpses of their joy, despair or disadain, it seems in the end they must dance to a tune for themselves. I can never enter deeply enough into their experiences, can never penetrate behind the private mysteries of their eyes.

Sometimes I think I am expecting too much. I always sucked at learning languages, its a leftover curse from my dyslexia.

So why then did I find myself agreeing to be the photographer for my father in law's wedding at the turn of the year?  Anyone with any sense would realise I was setting myself up for a fall. Not only can I cannot keep up with conversations in Spanish which this wedding was obviously going to be recited in but I'm really not that familiar with how Mormon weddings go. As a result I was left wondering if the the couple were sitting down for their vows...and then when the realisation struck that they were my panic as I found myself in the wrong place.

Probably just as well I didn't know I few more Spanish swear words.

Being left with the responisibility for this might have been fun  but it was a relief when it was all over and I could go home to mi casa.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


Wanting a lot less of this
 And this
 Isn't it about time for walks on the beach and stuff
Like watching dragonflies taking a rest
Watching the sunflowers grow
 Sniffing the flowers?

Oh wait that's right, its only February!