30 August 2009

Grand Tetons, Utah and Home

I drove most of the way across the Tetons. It was a rainy day and the sky was amazing. We went up over one pass with very steep grades and I realized it has been a long time since I did any real mountain driving. When we were down from the pass and my Sweet Hubby wanted to drive for a while, I almost had to pry my fingers off the steering wheel. I had to look to see if I had dented it, I was holding on to it that hard. I guess I was a little nervous (this from the kid who drove across the three sisters in Wyoming in the snow when I was 16).


The colors were amazing.

When we arrived in Ogden, we checked into the old Hotel Ben Lomond. This is one of the Grand Old Ladies. Hotel Ben Lomond is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was once the finest Hotel in Ogden. The current owners are in the process of refurbishing and restoring it so that someday it may be again.

It is not the Holiday Inn Express, some things still are not perfect but the staff are quick to remedy problems. It is a beautiful old place with a lot of memories and perhaps, a ghost or two.


The first of the Hotel photos is the entrance foyer, then the grand staircase, details from the elevators and my Handsome Hubby in the posh elevator.

The photo of the Ogden Sky line was taken from one of the windows in our room. Just up the rode a ways was our first apartment, I had to take a photo of it too. That is where we lived when we first got married.






We spent a few days running around Ogden and most fun of all, visiting with family. We are both from that area.


Our last day there, we spent together in Salt Lake City. We spent our Honeymoon there and I still think it is romantic. We visited "Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore", The Magdalene Cathedral (photos of the inside
just don't do it justice but I had

to try. The gargoyle looks as if he came right out of Disney's Hunchback, yet he has been looking over the city for a long time). We went to Trolley Square and had Dinner at "The Spaghetti Factory" (another old haunt for us, we ate there many times while we were dating and on our Honeymoon) it is still just as good as always. I recommend the Spaghetti a'la Homer with Mizithra Cheese.


Our trip was wonderful but it is good to be home. On our first walk after we got back we found a handful of wild grapes that were ripe and ready to eat. I didn't get a photo, they disappeared too fast. The cicada
and bee were having a
discussion on the porch. They

posed nicely as if to say "welcome home" then flew about their business. The wine, a lovely reward. Hope you are having a lovely summer. School starts back up for me next week and the weather just maybe starting to cool a little, we shall see.

Kat

24 August 2009

Nature is a Trip!

Guess who went to Yellowstone? What a wonderful trip! Wildflowers, animals, cooler weather, mountains, lakes, what more could a girl ask? We rented a car and drove up from Salt Lake City. Very much worth the long drive. The territory in between is quite lovely. The Rockie Mountains personality is very different personality from that of the Blue Ridge.
The first photo is of some of the wild flowers. There are a lot of things in bloom up there. The second photo is one of many great views we stopped to enjoy (all the photos in this posting were taken inside Yellowstone National Park).


Third is a photo I took of the stairs leading down to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. I just loved the way the pattern in the railings looked against natures twisty trees.



This fourth Photo shows part of the Mammoth Hot Springs. No, that isn't snow and it was not cold. It was, intensely atmospheric. Yellowstone was once, (many millions of years ago) a giant volcano. Most of the park fits into the caldera. That is why they have so many geothermal features in one relatively small area.

The fifth photo
shows another one of those great views and the sixth is a Momma Bear. She had two cubs with her. I will attempt to include video here also.
video












Seventh is a Heron and Eighth shows two different boats with names I just could not resist. Hubby and I took a boat tour of the lake. It was a fun ride and the guides were excellent.

Water view.




















Look at the inset for the picture of the bridge, it shows the sign that is clearly posted on both ends of the bridge. The sad thing is, this is "The Fishing Bridge". My hubby has fun memories of not catching anything from it. There are other places in the park where fishing is allowed and we saw plenty of people who were indulging in the sport. It is no longer allowed here because this is a spawning ground for the native Cutthroat Trout and they are disappearing.
The three ducks are swimming on Twin Lakes, I love the reflections in the water. (This photo also allows me to show that at least once in my life, I had all my ducks in a row).
video
This video is just buffalo, not doing anything brilliant, just being themselves. If possible, turn the sound on while it plays, they do make a funny noise.
Last but never least, this cute little guy is called a "Whistle Pig" because of the little whistling noise they make. I believe they are related to Guinea Pigs. Cute! Not at all shy either. I also took video of Old Faithful spouting off. If you are interested you can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cSbBiMup6I We were there a couple of days before the President and his family. There is a live web cam aimed at Old Faithful and I have managed to catch it going off several times. You can find it at http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/yellowstonelive.htm That is all for now, stay tuned for more photos from the rest of the trip. We drove through the Grand Tetons and spent time in Ogden and Salt Lake City. The trip was great, but it is good to be home.
See ya,
Kat

21 August 2009

We are back

We are safely home and almost unpacked. I have to work this weekend so It will probably be Monday before I get any photos posted. We went to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Lots of details and photos to come soon. I even have video of Buffalo and a Momma bear with two cubs (if I can figure out how to post it). Spontaneous the cat has been bailed out of the vets office where she stayed while we were gone and she is in a very sweet mood. Stay tuned, pictures to come.
Kat

10 August 2009

10,000 miles up

Just a short note from 10,000 miles up. I am on a Delta flight somewhere above Oklahoma. Delta is offering Wi-Fi on board now once the aircraft has reached a certain altitude. It is usually rather expensive, (according to the card that a nice man handed me before we came on board, $12.95 "or less" per flight. Ouch) However the card entitles me to one free trial so that is what I am doing. There was some sort of problem for the first half of the flight and I was not able to get on line. Frustrating, however, I tried again later and it is flying. (OK, I admit that was close to being a very bad pun, can't help it, I am in a great mood).
I will keep you all posted. I do have a photo of my Sweet Hubby at the airport and one of this aircraft from the outside to show you, but my camera is out of reach. (Shocking isn't it) It is only about 10 feet away, but the seat belt is on and that is that.
In the mean time, I have a few more people I want to send a note to from way up here. Stay tuned and I will let you know what, where and why.
Kat

07 August 2009

Home Sweet

I call my blog Kat's Corner, because it is about my little corner of the world. Our house plays a big role in my life, this particular episode is all about the house. Back in 1983, we lived in a little apartment in Ogden UT. I remember one afternoon we were daydreaming with a "United Farm Catalog" there was a place for sale with an old house that needed work and a couple of acres. It bordered on a National Forest, can you imagine how nice that sounded. There was no way we could afford it at the time and we were getting ready to spend a couple of years moving around with the AF anyway, but it stuck in my head as an ideal. Move the clock forward to 2002. Our couple of years in the AF turned into a career and it was almost time to get out. No more moving every few years.
We must have looked at over a hundred houses, none were quite what we wanted. Then my Sweet one found a house on the Internet. It boarders on Sumter National Forest (no, it wasn't the exact property we looked at all those years ago, this house is much prettier). We hopped into the van and drove up to look at it. The house had been on the market for quite a while and had not been lived in for over a year. The front porch was buckling, the roof was dreadful, and most of the fireplaces were boarded up. The well wasn't even working. We fell in love, good thing too, as this house needed to be Loved!
Between the time we signed the contract and the time we were ready to move in, we went to the bookstore. My Honey was looking at a "Country Living Magazine". He called out, excited, across the store, our house is in here! What! Our house was one of the four houses chosen to appear on their for sale page. (Yes, I still have a copy, two as a matter of fact).
Our house was either built around 1830 by the Reverend James Chiles, according to "Greenwood County A History" by Ann Heard Bowen.

We have replaced the roof, fixed the porch and

repaired the chimneys. As well as a lot of other things. There is always something that needs to be done. It is a big house and it is full of love.
The first photo is of course the house from the front, next "tea on the balcony". Third is a view of the side of the house and fourth is a view from the side. Five is a photo of our bees. see the piece that isn't painted? That is the entrance to their home. If you look close to that you can see some of the bees going in and out.
Six is the summer kitchen and smoke house. Seven is the view from my kitchen window. Eight is part of the back yard. Nine is one of the newest members of the family, this lion is part of a pair that recently moved

onto the front porch. Ten is a fresh batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies just waiting to be cut and enjoyed. They were very good. I am afraid they are gone now. Eleven, last but not least is an old canning jar that appears to have something in it. Could be almost anything. It isn't a firefly, they are not that bright in the daylight. (I might have had a little help from photoshop to put it in their.)
Now it is time to motivate. My day is rapidly escaping. See you soon.






































02 August 2009

Bele Chere 2009


Have you ever been to Bele Chere? It is a street festival, held every July in Asheville NC. It is a three day celebration of art, artists, music and one of my favorite cities. It is also pure Joy!
Artists and art are everywhere. There are what seems like miles of booths set up alongside the road. In some cases, like in my first three photos, the artist is the art. These living statues were quite wonderful. They would hold various poses, as still as you could wish, until someone spoke to them, or dropped change in their hat. When activated, they would bow gracefully then mime different things. Great fun. Especially since I suspect they felt as if they were
melting. It was quite warm.
We were able to go for all three days a couple of years ago, even that did not seem like it was long enough. This year, we were limited to just one day.
Did I mention the food? Several local businesses were offering tastes of their wares. One of my favorites was
French Broad Chocolates. No it is not run by a lady from France, it is named after a local river. Lovely Fudge. We shared a Felafel from "The Jerusalem Garden Cafe" and Dinner was a vegetarian combo from a street vendor. (Oh my goodness, it was wonderful) Unfortunately I did not write the name of
the vegetarian vendor down. I really don't think
you can go wrong with anything on offer.
The fourth is an example of the art that is all over Asheville on a daily basis. The giant Iron is sitting out on a corner, just waiting to inspire despair. (My sister Paula thinks it is funny that after all those years in the military and ironing uniforms, I chose another career that requires uniforms, and I still feel like I have to iron them). Do you even own an Iron? My iron is not quite this old, but my ironing board is a wooden one that was made many years ago for my Mother in Law. The neat thing is she was about my height (not tall) so it is just right for me.

The odd looking frame contraption is a mister. A great way to cool off. Don't forget to put the camera away first.
A lot of the booths were selling different types of art. One of the many that I particularly liked was, Starships.com I guess the anniversary of the moon landings has me thinking about space ships.
Another good booth was provided by "Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe". Books, nice atmosphere and coffee. Great combo.
One of the many things I love about Asheville is the blending of the new and the old. They have a lot of
wonderful architecture.

Some of the art is participatory. They have some giant canvas and paints ready for you to add to a mural and we even saw a walking puppet show. Cute.

There are stages set up in several locations. Far enough apart that they don't compete with each other and plenty of street musicians. Our dinner was accompanied by a couple of enterprising young ladies tap dancing.



























Last but not least, a lovely bit of sunshine. This fine specimen was looking down on me from the yard next door to where we parked the car.
Have I wet your appetite? Bele Chere 2010 is less than 12 months away. Next years website is not up yet, but if you want a little more of a taste, try this years at MountainX.com
Kat

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