Snow. Melt. Blow.

From a zoology class, I learned about the air quality here that some of the problem has to do with features of topography and Utah’s location. A lot of pollution blows in on us from across the ocean and parks right above us in the form of continuous haze. Good to hear; I mean shoot, it’s not like Utahns drive that much more than neighboring states to have this level of polluted air. Still, this means that Utahns have to be extra mindful and diligent about the little things (such as not idling your car), which do add up.

Think About it for the Month…
These are photos of yesterday’s early morning storm. Photo 1 was in the morning with snow. Photo 2 was in the afternoon after the snow had all melted.

That was a nice little storm yesterday and much needed. Even if it was only a couple inches, we’ll take it. There I was out walking the dog where we met another walker with dog; the two had fun playing in the snow. Just after our spontaneous, mini dog park, there it was, the smell and sound of roaring snowblowers. The storm just cleared out a week’s worth of polluted air but multiple snowblowers could be heard quickly repolluting the air that was finally cleaned, all for 2″ of snow. The sun was out; the snow will soon be melted… The irony of it all…;

o’ America, how long??

Trying to race the sun, when the snow was to be gone naturally in 59 minutes and counting seems funny.

Notice the difference in these photos of hazy, as opposed to clean air:

The little things do add up to positive change. Many hands make light work. If everyone does a little bit, Utah’s air quality will improve. Don’t wait for the government to begin making changes. You could be waiting for a very long time. After all, it was the 1990’s when you walked into a restaurant and were asked “smoking, or non-smoking?” Will there ever be a surgeon general warning label placed on cars, lawnmowers, snowblowers? Ha ha.

I really like my electric mower, and it doesn’t contribute to the air pollution. That is a topic for another time.

Thinking ahead here: if incentives were introduced, I would be among the first to voluntarily have my car converted to electric, solar or biodiesel, or to trade in my current vehicle (which gets good gas mileage as it is) for one of these. I would gladly do anything I could do to help reduce the pollution, and I would do so while nearly jumping for joy.

We all breathe Utah air; we enjoyed one day (actually a half day) of clean air after the storm. Notice that it is now hazy again…

I’d like to see Utah air a little more breathable. Are You Loving the Snow?
January Rain Post
Thanks for chipping in.


Update on the Peasant Life…

Ye update from thee olde homesteade:

Last year was rewarding. It was fun experimenting with collected rain water, natural pest control and reaping the harvest after the big planting!

While walking the dog the other day I happened to recognize the bus driver who let my dog and I inside once during a near emergency. I needed to go to the campus late on a holiday weekend to make sure I had locked the room where I did some work. As soon as I got off the bus, I realized it was closed for the weekend. What was I thinking?! It was already locked anyhow, so my dog and I had a long wait for the next and last bus that evening. It was this particular driver. He knows me from my dog, and I know him from his enthusiasm for my dog. Seeing him recently sparked that fond memory and that experience we share, the kindness he extended to us that day. As we waved, this same enthusiasm showed and he gave me a thumbs up as we passed. Fun stuff.

Attended more masses this past year like any striving peasant should. I enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends, catching up, chatting some, and being with solid people. I may have to wait now though, mass now starts at noon, (not a good time for mass to start.) For people with kids, or who help with elderly parents whose well-being depends on a regular routine, this is extra hard. Nevermind lunch hour ‘n all. Sounds like utilitarianism to me. What’s up with humans and their isms? Even veganism gets caught up in it. Homo sapiens love to make a system out of it-all of it. It is not wise to disregard the little things as though they don’t matter or influence the outcome. They absolutely matter; they do add up. On one hand you say that mass attendance is too low, but then you change the time to noon, right during lunch for most folks. As it is, people are generally imbalanced and overwhelmed due to all the do’s tacked onto them (by any given) faith. Still, religion does have a place, a role to play in the world. It must be understood, however that individuals must be allowed to grow through, progress and process life events on their own time and in their own way. This may vary tremendously per individual and it may mean skipping mass for a season. This is okay. It must be respected, and realized that this is normal for today’s diverse world.

We had a few multi-class (some nobility was included) get togethers. They were a lot of fun! The answer is yes, of course classes can mix and it adds to the overall spice of the recipe. Sparkling apple juice always hits the spot! We meet with music, entertainment, laughs and usually with a dog or two in the mix.

During those cold winter days and nights I so thoroughly enjoy sipping my tea from herbs that I grew myself during the season, reflecting and going within. I love not having to go out, or driving anywhere on those cold winter nights. I only drive 2-3 days per week as it is (by choice). I can do it at this time, so I’m glad to; it is my way of reducing my footprint. For the things I need to drive for, I wait until I’m out the next time. I prefer my walks-sun, snow, or moonlight.

Well, that is the upate from thee olde homesteade. I wish you could taste my herbal tea; 🙂 not too shabby if ya don’t mind my sayin’.

Stay warm until next time,


January Rain

Hi there fellow locals of Utah, how do you like this January rain with melted snow?

The water is good, no complaints there, but this warmth and rain is not normal. Instead, there should be snow on the ground by late November; it should continue to accumulate over the next several weeks to over a foot, and it should not start melting until mid-Februrary. We should see a white blanket covering outside from November to March…

These were the winters I personally recall from my childhood. I’m sure you have recollection of this also.

Further, February should be a month with many gray, cloudy days, which is how a normal Utah winter should be. However, lately the month of February has been quite sunny even if cold; it is not normal. Instead it’s not quite spring, not quite winter, which throws off our biological clocks because our being starts to feel that it’s nearly spring. It’s the groundhog thing; February is still winter.

You can’t tell me that the winters in your life have not changed. Shoot, only fragments of the state had a white Christmas; yet it snowed only a couple weeks before!

Considering other perspectives and learning new things is healthy and good. Here is a documentary with David Attenborough; ever since I was a kid I have been watching his animal and nature shows. It is inspiring to see him still filming in his mid-nineties.

The changes in the past few decades are clear as a bell.

The film explains thoroughly and gives tips that the average person can do to help improve this situation we are faced with; it affects everyone. This is about us; not just the environment and nature. Even if we start only right here where we are, you and I both breathe Utah air, which, sadly and embarrassingly is hazy more often than it is clear. There are small steps that can be taken to help clean up the air that you and I breathe, which in turn helps the environment too. It’s a win-win.

Please watch and enjoy the well done documentary via Netflix or otherwise: Breaking Boundaries



Praise for One Hour Lunch Breaks

Thank you to the employers who still give one hour lunch breaks to their employees. It may be a rarity, but it is like a gift.

I consider myself fortunate to have had some really cool jobs over the years. Every single one of them brought unique experiences, growth opportunities and interesting people, including coworkers and supervisors that I liked. I have been glad for their willingness to give me a chance.
Through my working life so far, one thing that stands out as a clear memory is the duration of allotted lunch breaks.

Consider this scenario: You work for a large retailer and you just clocked out for your lunch break. You have thirty minutes and the clock is ticking. Assuming that you don’t get stopped by a chatty someone that you know, you are already racing to make it back to your work on time. Hopefully you can warm your meal and shovel it in fast enough…

Can you eat a full meal in thirty minutes?
Be honest. If you are the type who boasts that you can, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. However, my counterpoint is that if you managed to eat it in thirty minutes, it was not comfortable, and the purpose of your lunch break was futile.

Thirty minutes is not enough time to eat adequate lunch during an eight hour work day. That is, of course unless you order fast food. Perhaps that is the point of this shortsighted policymaking. A growing number of people now care about their health and take the time to prepare and bring a nutritious meal for lunch. A one hour lunch not only provides enough time to eat a life-giving meal, but also time to disconnect and recharge for a bit. This is essential for an eight hour work day. Are you kidding me!? How is there any question? In the U.S., rates of heart disease, stress, diabetes, medication and obesity are through the roof. As discussed in my recent memoir The Irony of the Well, I discuss the structure of societies. The current structure of American society is not currently set up for healthy food choices, or for the prevention of these illnesses. In fact, the opposite is true because industry currently runs the day.

Just like the basic layout of most cities is designed around the automobile and not pedestrians, half hour lunches are designed with little in mind but our all-too-familiar quick pace with convenience as the top priority. This very pace is also another stressor; you see the cycle. You see the reason that fast food is currently the only option. This model is based on the assumption that a person will run to grab a bite at the closest drive-in, or even more likely bring a microwave dinner; (both severely lacking in healthy options, and those that are, are expensive). How is one supposed to eat a hot meal in a half hour?? This is hardly enough time for the food to cool after being warmed!

While there are much bigger issues concerning health than allotted lunch time at work, (diet and exercise are the most influential components of a healthy lifestyle), the little things do add up to further declines or improvements in health outcomes. As critical as I have been of giant corporations, this is one area where some large retailers demonstrate clarity, consistency and generosity in providing one hour lunches during a full eight hour day. It is more effective in the long run since workers that make their health a priority use fewer sick days, and are less expensive on an already struggling Healthcare (sick care) system.

I believe healthy choices and adequate recharge time make a big difference in increasing productivity, work eithic and, whether your crew is large or small, even boosting company morale. I know I’m not the only one who has noticed this.

See we’re funny here in America; even here in Utah we need to get over our workahol; it was always there for us. Now it’s time to ditch that guff. It’s an outmoded mindset that now needs to go away.

More one hour eating, time to relax and disconnect in the workplace please.