Sep 092014
 

‘OPA’ is a lover’s Greek Word for expressing joy, but also flexible enough to use anytime you just feel like saying hi, hey, or oops.
Greek Festival Salt Lake City #RetireForTheFunOfIt
The Greek Festival in Salt Lake City is a three day event that celebrates their culture, traditions, and heritage, but we go for the Greek food and dancing.  We joined over 50,000 people that attended their 39th annual celebration of being Philhellenes – lovers of all things Greek!
Greek Dancers #festival #RetireForTheFunOfIt
Are you old enough to remember the movie, Zorba the Greek? Naturally this is a popular favorite and I can’t help but hum along when they perform this dance.
Greek Traditional Dance #RetireForTheFunOfIt
Each dance tells a story passed down through generations about ancient wars, courtship, or physical prowess.  The ancient Zembekikos dance, involves trying not to knock over a glass set on the floor. If the dancer succeeds, he can drink what wasn’t spilled from the glass.
Greek Traditional Dance #RetireForTheFunOfIt
The Mihanikos, tells a story about how the dancer remembers his youth and love of sponge diving off the Aegean Island Kalymnos. It begins with a fast, high-spirited beat and then slows down as the dancer needs a cane. The sponge divers became crippled due to the “bends disease” from years of diving, and is retold in this dancers story.
Greek Hellenic Museum #RetireForTheFunOfIt
The Hellenic Cultural Museum has gathered its people’s life stories in photos, clothing and many personal artifacts. Greek immigrants came to Salt Lake City in the early 1900’s when mining and railroading were booming industries.

Young sons were sent off to America, where there were plenty of jobs. The hope was for their sons to make enough money, so they could return in a few years. The mining casualties tell a tragic story of families still living in Greece and unable to personally bury their sons.
Greek Coffee #RetireForTheFunOfIt
Greek coffee is an artistic production in itself. In a briki pot, he adds 2 teaspoons of Greek (or Turkish) coffee, a cup of water and then stirs in 2 teaspoons of sugar.

He explained how the coffee is slowly heated up until the surface starts to tremble. Once it starts foaming, he lifts the briki slightly from the heat until the foam settles and then is put back on the fire to let it start foaming again.

He said this step is very important to getting a good cup of coffee. He advised us to sip the coffee slowly to enjoy the robust flavor. Considering how hot this drink is, sipping is the only safe way to enjoy it. Drinking the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup is really gross and not advised.


I found a Zumba coin scarf in their shopping center and felt this justified eating a Baklava dessert.  We learned more about the Greek faith from the guides inside the church. This stained glass window depicting the resurrection was colorfully striking in the afternoon sun.  

Using a fun greeting like Opa brings an unexpected smile. Do you have a favorite greeting?

Sep 042014
 

It may be called “Oktoberfest,” but this 200 year old celebration always starts before October in Utah since beer and snowy weather just aren’t a party mix.
Oktoberfest #RetireForTheFunOfIt

Oktoberfest has inspired imitation around the world of what began as a wedding celebration in Munich, Bavaria, on October 12th, 1810.
SnowBird Alphorn Oktoberfest

Our weather in Utah can be very unpredictable, so we begin Oktoberfest in late August. To hold true to tradition, the festival held since 1973 ends on the first weekend of October.
SnowBird Oktoberfest Tram

At the Snowbird Ski Resort, you can hear the Alphorns echoing from the top of the mountain. Or ride with them on the tram and watch the Salzburg Echo Polka Band “on top of the world.”
SnowBird Alphorns Oktoberfest

SnowBird Ski Resort’s Oktoberfest draws over 60,000 people and this year’s festival was almost cancelled, rather than be a beer-free event. The state liquor board caused quite an uproar when they decided that alcohol licenses were meant for non-profit, charitable events, and not for attractions aimed at turning a profit.

In case you live under a rock, you may not be aware of Utah’s unique liquor laws.  Supporters vigorously insisted that the festival isn’t just about beer, but celebrates food, folk dancing and many other family activities. The board backed down and allowed the alcohol license by declaring the festival “a valuable community event.”


Our grandkids get to try the alpine slide, mountain flyer, and rope course, while we shop in Der Marktplatz and watch yo-yo man do his tricks. Then we finish the day eating some authentic Bavarian bratwurst, sauerkraut and apple strudel.

SnowBird Oktoberfest Song
The beer keg was ceremoniously tapped and the Oktoberfest tradition lives on for another year.

View From Top of the World #RetireForTheFunOfit

Our grandsons are enjoying the view from Hidden Peak above the Snowbird Ski Resort. That’s Salt Lake City in the background and in winter, our little downhill skiers have only a ten minute ride to one of the world class ski resorts.   Can you tell why we love living here?

Feb 132014
 

A look back to a special time in my life as an Olympic volunteer, when Salt Lake City hosted the Olympics in 2002. Olympic Torch
The 2002 Olympic motto was Light the Fire Within and the Cauldron was created with the Fire and Ice theme in mind. Designed to look like an icicle, it was made of glass which allowed the fire to be seen burning within. Small jets sent water down the glass sides of the cauldron to give the effect of melting ice.
Olympic rings with Airforce one President plane
Air Force One landed with President George W. Bush on board. To be visible across the valley, the illuminated Olympic Rings were displayed across an area the size of ten football fields.
Olympic opening trade center flag
The tattered flag was recovered from the World Trade Center ruins after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York City. It was carried into the opening ceremony by eight athletes escorted by New York City firefighters and Port Authority police.
Olympic chair lift from tents toshovels
Every morning our course crew teams were sent up the mountain at Snowbasin in Ogden, Utah to prepare the Women’s and Men’s Downhill courses. We looked like Blue Smurfs skiing to our designated areas.
112 clean course between racers
This is what you didn’t see when you watched the Olympics. We were a small part of the many volunteers making this the best possible Olympic event ever. I’ll never forget how dedicated these volunteers were to work for “free” just for the pride and love of the sport, country, and the fact that the world was watching us.
Olympic day with Wisconsin skiers

All volunteers received extensive training on being helpful and friendly to the visitors. Being part of a photo op was the easiest part of my job, since these three guys were visiting from my birth State of Wisconsin.
Olympic Mascots with Mitt Romney
The three Olympic mascots are: Swifter, a snowshoe hare. Higher, a coyote. Stronger, an American black bear. They are based on a Utah legend inspired by petroglyphs from a Native American tradition. Mitt Romney was the President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, and more recently the Republican nominee for president of the United States.
037 Kari's view of mountains
023 sunrise

 

 

 

 

Since our days began as early as 4 a.m., we enjoyed beautiful sunrises at the top of Snowbasin Ski Resort. My daughter Kari stands near the starting gate of the Woman’s Downhill course and a view of what the Olympic skiers saw on their way down the mountain.
Olympic Volunteer party 1
After the Olympic and Paralympic games ended, the volunteers came together one last time. This special night was given to honor all the dedicated volunteers, with a concert on the Olympics Medal Plaza.

What is your favorite Olympic memory?

Jan 252014
 

Robert Redford offered to jump out of a cake, since the Sundance Film Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary. He claims his idea was shot down.  Too bad!  Although I’m trying not to visualize his 77 year old body popping out of a cake in frosted attire.

The festival began as a low profile venue for small-budget, independent creators from outside the Hollywood system. Sadly, it’s evolved into a media extravaganza for Hollywood celebrity actors and paparazzi.  Luxury lounges are now set up by corporate sponsors affiliated with Sundance.
Sundance Film Festival downtown 2014

The first Utah/US Film Festival featured classic films such as Deliverance, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Midnight Cowboy. The festival struggled through its first years. Robert Redford lent his name to make the event successful, and thus it became the Sundance Film Festival.
Sundance Film Festival Theater 2014
Robert Redford conducted the annual opening day press conference at the Egyptian Theatre. Fifteen theatres throughout Park City, Salt Lake City and Ogden show the films chosen for this event.

Sundance Film Festival Swag 2014Sundance Film Festival Swag items 2014

 

 

 

Merchandise with the 2014 logo appeared to be in abundance at the stores.

Sundance Film Festival Movie Bills 2014
All advertising flyers must be tacked onto these boards. Tickets to the films were similar in cost to your local cinema, but now at $20 are still difficult to get.  Standing outside in a “wait list” line has become the bone chilling norm.

Sundance Film Festival Camera Girl 2014
The word “Park” is non-existent in Park City, since the mining town was built with narrow streets.  A shuttle bus took care of bringing us downtown to join the gawkers.

We were hoping someone famous would be in front of this camera.  Maybe she was waiting to film an accident?

Sundance Film Festival Boots 2014
The Sundance Festival dress code is sometimes called “mountain chic,” which basically means warm and casual.

When there aren’t famous people on the Park City streets to gawk at, what else is there to do?

Window shopping works for me! Especially, when there are too many people inside the stores.

Sadly, times have changed from a restaurant full of movie stars, to their requiring secluded privacy for their safety.

Got any good stories about gawking at famous people?

Enjoy more travels linked to the Travel Photo Mondays.

Apr 242013
 

My husband and I became volunteer managers of an HO Scale train room, at our area’s Senior Recreation Center last year.  This meant fixing the railroad track, so the model trains would run again.  Also, an ongoing project is to create scenes that bring back our childhood memories of an era when we paid 59 cents a gallon for gasoline.

train room copy

After many months of time and effort, our train room was ready to be shown off to visitors, including our city’s Mayor and Council Members.  The Salt Lake Tribune reporter labeled our accomplishments, “a gem in the heart of West Valley City.”

In celebration of our Model Train Room grand re-opening, I created a special cake for the occasion.

train cake copy

The bottom layer is two lemon cake mixes baked in 9 x 13 inch pans with green tinted whipped cream for grass color and white whipped cream with graham cracker crumbs for the ground coloring.

The train engine is a chocolate cake mix baked in two loaf pans and a mini-loaf pan.  I filled one loaf pan 3/4 full, so it would puff up higher and rounder to make the boiler.   The second loaf pan was filled 1/2 full to make the coal tender.  The mini-loaf pan cake was tipped on end for the engine.

Three mini-donuts were covered with chocolate frosting for the smoke stack.  A gold foil wrapped Rollo candy is the train bell and red licorice added trimming.  Oreo cookies (without the filling) were used for the train wheels with life savers in the center.  Crushed Oreo cookies were used for the tender’s coal.  Carmel Corn was threaded on a stiff wire that was bent to simulate the smoke and then inserted into the mini-donut smoke stack.  Licorice created the train track and a picture of Mickey Mouse was inserted for the train engineer.

My inspiration for this train cake came from the many great ideas shown on this website: http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com.   Please let me know if you have any questions on the assembly of this fun cake.

Mar 142013
 

Why is Jackson commonly called Jackson Hole?  Fur trappers living in Jackson, coined the term “hole” which describes the entire valley ringed by mountains.
Ranching in Jackson wasn’t very prosperous, so settlers served as guides and packers for hunting to supplement their incomes.  Others realized that dudes winter better than cows and began operating dude ranches.

TheYellowstone & Rodeo 001 copy Grand Teton mountain range is a National Park that we enjoy visiting often.  We couldn’t think of a more memorable way of celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, than in this gorgeous area.  It takes about 5 hours to drive from our home in Salt Lake City.  Another favorite National Park, Yellowstone is only 50 miles from Jackson, WY.

Bronc Riding RodeoChildren grow up competing in rodeo events and watching youngsters ride bulls and wild horses is exciting to watch.  Our special favorite is the mutton busting.  Children around the ages of 5 through 8 years old ride on lambs that try to buck them off.  The little riders hang on so tight that some won’t let go even if they have slipped  and are riding underneath the lamb. Our grandsons earned mutton busting trophies, among their many accomplishments.

jenny lakeJenny Lake is fed by the Teton mountain’s glaciers and the crystal clear lake seems bottomless.  Boat shuttles will take you to the Cascade Canyon Trailhead to enjoy the hike up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Walking along the many trails around the lake is a peaceful way to take more pictures of nature like snakes and other wild things.  The lodge was originally a dude ranch and some of the cabins are from the 1920’s.

Bar J group copyThe Bar J Wranglers have a western bar-b-que and entertainment dinner show that is a highlight of our Wyoming western experience. The working ranch has been in the family for generations. It’s also a perfect reason to wear our cowboy outfits and hats. We may have been born n’ raised in Wisconsin, but when “out west” we have to dress the part.
Also, don’t miss riding in a covered wagon. It’s the cowboy way!


50th Anniversary Trip to Jackson, WY 034 copyBar J wagon copy

Visiting all the 59 National Parks is on our bucket list, but some places deserve a visit more than once.

Linked to Travel Photo Mondays

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