A Handy Guide for Winters in Utah

Unless you’re a skier, snowboarder, ice fisherman, Eskimo or professional snowman assembler, Utah winters suck.

Since I’m none of those things, I’m also homebound. Of course, I could go out and try a snow sport, but that would involve putting on ski pants, gloves, scarves, boots, thermal underwear, ear muffs and parkas. By the time I’m ready to go out in the snow, I’m too tired–and weigh an additional 4o pounds.snow suit

(Playing in the snow or deep-sea diving?)

For those of you unfamiliar with winter (I hate you), I’ll define some key words to help you understand Utah winters–and why I should move to a warmer climate.

Inversion: Every winter, a science fiction-ish fog settles in the Salt Lake Valley, choking our lungs and robbing us of sunshine for weeks on end. The Utah Legislature also convenes during this time. Coincidence? I think not.

inversion

(See the pretty cloud cover? Yeah, the entire city is buried under that gunk cloud.)

Salt: To keep our streets ice-free (and tasty) road crews sprinkle TONS of salt on Utah freeways so our cars don’t careen off overpasses. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, by February, every car in the state is coated with a fine film of salt that slowly corrodes all metal, leaving a rusty shell of a vehicle. The Utah Legislature also convenes during this time. Coincidence? I think not.

Commuter Special: This highly irritating term was created by Utah meteorologists to laughingly describe a storm that hits during morning or evening rush hours. (Hahaha! That’s hilarious.) So far this year, every storm has hit during rush hour. Not quite so special anymore. So shut the hell up, weathermen.snow driving

(Just another day in paradise. Did I say paradise? I meant hell.)

Lake Effect Snow: Ah, the Great Salt Lake. Good for absolutely nothing except farming brine shrimp. This is the snowstorm after the original snowstorm, caused by the Great Salt Lake trying to get our attention.

Winter Storm Warning: This redundant term is used when heavy snow is expected. In Utah, it’s also called December, January, February, March, April, May and June.

Shoveling Snow: Touted as a “great workout” by those who can’t afford environmentally-damaging snow blowers. This is bull****. Shoveling snow sucks. And snow plow drivers enjoy pushing snow back onto sidewalks that were just shoveled. I hate them.

shoveling

(I do not LMFAO while shoveling. Or Shuffling.)

Snow blizzards, warnings, advisories, flurries, etc. Weather synonyms thrown out by meteorologists when they can’t just say “snow storm.”

If you’re lucky enough to live in a snowless area (I hate you), count your blessings. If you’re in Utah, keep smiling. June is only five months away.

Why See’s Chocolates Should Sponsor This Blog

The reasons See’s Chocolates should sponsor my Life and Laughter blog are numerous–and the similarities between me and the chocolate giant are eerie. Here are just a few reasons See’s should slap an ad on my blog.

(I’m on the See-food diet.)

Reason #1: See’s creates excellent chocolates. I EAT excellent chocolates. (Like I said. Eerie)

Reason #2: See’s first shop opened in 1921. Mark Twain (my favorite author) was TALKED ABOUT in 1921.

(Author and satirist Mark Twain posthumously enjoying a See’s chocolate cigar.)

Reason #3: See’s offers more than 100 varieties of candies and chocolates. I totally support that!

Reason #4: See’s makes THE BEST Nuts & Chews and truffles. Coincidentally, Nuts & Chews and truffles are my FAVORITE!

Reason #5: Founder Charles See had a mother. SO DID I!

Reason #6: The company is headquartered in San Francisco. I’ve BEEN to San Francisco!

(Dead or alive: This is where I want to be buried.)

Reason #7: See’s has kitchens at a second location in Los Angeles. I have a kitchen right across the hall!

Reason #8: See’s has stores in Utah. I grew up in Utah.

Reason #9: Guittard Chocolates delivers bulk liquid chocolate in tanker trunks to See’s to make their delicious candies. I could LIVE in a bulk liquid chocolate tanker trunk.

Reason #10: See’s has a large variety of dark chocolates that are good for your heart. I have a heart! (Usually.)

(I’m pretty sure my heart is 99.9% chocolate. The remaining .1%? Coca-Cola.)

Top 5 Ways to Tell It’s Fall in Utah

There are many signs that fall is upon us, especially in Utah. The mountains are gorgeous with autumn leaves, the air is crisp and clean, and tank tops are put away for another year. (Sigh.) But there are other, more subtle signs, like these top 5 ways to tell it’s fall in Utah.

#1. Orange is everywhere. Usually reserved for the ever-present road construction barriers in the state, in autumn, the men start wearing bright orange clothes so, when they go deer hunting, their friends won’t shoot them. But friends still shoot their hunting buddies. (“That’s part of the adventure, sweetie.”)

(This is how your hunter friend sees you after he’s downed a six-pack of Miller Lite.)

#2. School Vacation Days.  Because going to school EVERY weekday is EXHAUSTING, October brings many days off of school for our young ‘uns. Fall recess is a 4-day weekend that parents can “bond” with their kids over the autumn splendor. And by “bond” I mean spend the weekend fighting until school starts again on Monday. Then there’s a day off for parent-teacher conferences, and any other day the school board throws in. I’m surprised they didn’t have Columbus Day (Columbus’ Day? Columbus’s Day? Columbi Day?) off. Or National Boss Day.

#3. Halloween candy. My nemesis. My downfall. My albatross. My secret love. Tis the season to stash bags of Halloween candy around the house. Not to give away to cute little princesses and cowboys on Halloween, but to sneak away and nibble on when life gets stressed. Like every day from dawn to dusk. And sometimes midnight.

(This is how I want to die. Face down in a pile of Halloween candy.)

#4. The Annual Deer Hunt. Once a year, the testosterone level in the state reaches its peak and men take to the hills to hunt the elusive, and dangerous, white-tail deer. Of course, they usually end up just getting drunk and shooting at each other (see #1) or wandering off and getting lost in the Rockies. Either way, it’s Darwin’s theory at its finest.

 

#5. Temperature Fluctuations.  You wake up in the morning and it’s a brisk 45 degrees. You don sweaters, wooly socks and pants–and two hours later, when the temperature jumps to 75 degrees, you’re slowly roasting in your own juices. By bedtime, it’s freezing again. It’s like a striptease all day long. Take off the sweater, put on the shorts. Take off the shorts, put on the Snuggie. Repeat at least two more times daily.

Top 5 Reasons Utah’s Liquor Laws Are Screwed Up

Utah has a well-earned reputation for having screwed-up liquor laws. Thank heavens state officials are perpetuating that reputation. Our guv just appointed another non-drinker to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. That’s like putting a non-driver in charge of transportation. Or a virgin in charge of brothel regulation. Just sayin’.

Anyway, here are the top 5 reasons Utah’s liquor laws are a pile of crap:

1. The Infamous Zion Curtain: If we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. That’s the philosophy behind the Zion Curtain law which states restaurants cannot display or make drinks in public view. This is to protect the children. In a world of violent cable TV shows, Internet porn and sexting, I think a child watching a beer being drawn is the least of our worries.

2. Few liquor licenses: Although our revered legislature has the power to magically create more liquor licenses to attract more drinking establishments to our state–they chose not to. Instead, they’ve capped the number of licenses available–but seriously considered selling those to the highest bidder. Ahhhhh. Our government at work for the small business owner.

3. Must eat to drink in restaurants: If you order a drink in a restaurant in Utah, you must also order something to eat. Have our legislators seen the obesity rates in Utah?? Do you think forcing people to eat more mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings is a good idea?? Yeah, they might not get as drunk–but they’ll be just as fat.

4. The closing of state-owned liquor stores: Here’s an idea: let’s take a profitable businesses and close up shop!! If you want to buy hard liquor, or wine, in Utah for consumption at home (or at work when no one is looking), you need to purchase it at a state-owned liquor store. Legislators thought it was a good idea to shut down 13 liquor stores, eliminate 150 jobs and shorten store operating hours–to save money. Even though five of those stores on the list had a combined sales total of more than $18 million in 2010.

5. No Advertising Drink Specials: As of July 1, local watering holes cannot offer drink specials. No more Tequila Tuesdays or Margarita Mondays. No more half-priced beer during the Super Bowl or discount mimosas during brunch.  Brilliant bit of marketing strategy there. Again, proof that our legislators have the best interest of small businesses owners at heart.

(Except in Utah)

Because our legislators grew up in Neverland (never drink, never smoke, never cheer for the Utes, never have sex, never gamble) they are punishing the people who enjoy an occasional drink at the end of a long day. I’ve never been a drinker, but I don’t think I need to impose MY ideas on anyone else. That’s like putting the inmates in charge of the asylum. Oh, wait. We already did.