A few weeks ago Jason and I were at Target purchasing a random assortment of items and amongst these items was a case of non-alcoholic malted beverage, aka O’Doul’s, aka near beer. Yes, as a Nelson I grew up on that stuff and am quite partial to it! It isn’t sweet so it doesn’t send me into sugar shock and it is actually healthier for you than most beverages. So I was purchasing some and the checker said the oddest thing to me and Jason. She said, “Are you sure this doesn’t really have alcohol in it? Maybe I need to see a Bishop’s note.” She was half joking but the fact that she even made such a comment to a random customer made me think for a moment that perhaps I had entered the Twilight zone. And then I remembered I was in Orem, Utah, which is pretty darn close.
This got me thinking about Utah and why, despite its cultural oddities and religious uniformity, I like it so gosh darn much.
For some reason Utahans don’t seem too proud to be from this fine state. This may be the result of too many experiences of telling others you are from Utah and getting the inevitable question, “So how many wives does your husband have.” While this question reveals the questioner’s obvious lack of intelligence, we Utahans tend to still find this experience insulting and we cannot fathom why we are so misunderstood as a state. So while those from Texas, New York, and California boast of their origins-we mumble a somewhat inaudible response to that dreaded question.
Next time you Utahans get asked where you are from I would suggest you answer “Utah” with pride. And here is why:
Our humble state now boasts a population of 2.4 million; this number is expected to increase to 5.4 million by 2050. Our state’s current growth rate is 6th highest in the nation. Most of you are thinking that this growth is surely due to the staggering number of children the residents of Utah seem to have. However, currently nearly half of Utah’s population increase is due to people migrating here. People WANT to live in Utah. How could this be you ask? Well, it turns out Utah is actually a pretty fabulous place. Our unemployment rate is the 3rd lowest in the nation and our rate of job growth is 1st (yes, we are number 1). Last year nearly 50,000 new jobs were created in Utah, which equates to a 4% increase. That is quadruple the national average. Way to go Utah! Utah also ranked number 1 in the nation in 2007 for personal income increase, which is another marker of economic activity expansion.
But those aren’t the only categories we ranked number 1 in. Our housing prices increased by 12.9% in 2007. That puts us also at number 1 in the nation for home price increases. Now, I can hear several of you whining. How could the increase of housing prices be good? Well, for those of you that own a house the answer should be fairly obvious. Duh, it means more equity for you. In contrast to many parts of the country were the housing market has slumped and many home owners have lost tremendous amounts of money as a result, home owners here are making money off their property investments and they should all be happy. For those of you who do not own a home there is still something for you to be happy about. The average price for a single family home in Utah is only $206,000. This is still a doable amount for most first time home owners, and is a far cry from the costly home prices in California or the east coast.
We are not just wealthy however, we are also healthy. The life expectancy in Utah is 3rd highest in the country. The average Utahan lives to be 78.6 years. And according to the America’s Health: State Health Rankings: 2004 Utah is the 5th healthiest state. More kudos to Utah!
The real reason I love Utah has nothing to do with our booming economy or the state of our health however. Where else can you snowboard or ski on the greatest snow on earth? You can snowboard, ski, snowmobile, and tube in the winter and enjoy wakeboarding and other water sports in the summer. The summer also brings opportunities for mountain biking and hiking in our beautiful mountains (real mountains not those hills found back east). But we not only have striking mountains we also have unique vistas unlike those seen anywhere else on earth. Bryce Canyon, Arches, Zion’s, Canyonlands, and Capital Reef are all full of distinctive and sometimes bizarre beauty. Our diverse and singular landscapes have resulted in Utah being home to more national parks than any other state, with only two exceptions (Alaska and California). Along with our national parks we also have many national monuments, such as Timpanogos Cave and Dead Horse Point. We also have the world famous Slick Rock Trail.
Rae in Zions National Park
I would encourage all of you Utahans to explore your fine state. You live in an area with all sorts of recreational opportunities and uncommon beauty. Jason and I are always finding new “favorite” places to bike, hike, and board.
On Christmas Eve this year we had a snow storm and I woke up Christmas morning to pristine snow covered mountains and a bright contrasting blue sky with wisps of clouds. It was gorgeous and a clear reminder of just what I love about Utah!
So I hope next time you get asked where you are from you will answer, “Utah, the most awesome state there is!” even if you have to add, “And I only have one wife!”
P.S. While Utahans do have more kids than those in any other state, our average is only 2.54. So that whole 15 kid misconception really needs to go away. And the men here really only have ONE wife (if they can even get that)!
Jas biking in American Fork Canyon
I just finished wrapping Jason’s last present, the last Christmas present I have to wrap this year. I must admit he is rather spoiled. As usual, our Christmas tree looks like it was the victim of a Christmas present explosion. But since I rather like that man, it’s fun to spoil him a bit, even if he ends up with more presents than Dudley Dursley.
I hope ya’ll have a Christmas that is super fab!
We moved into our new house in mid-August. Although this move took place late in the summer we planned on putting in our sprinkler system and sod before winter. Jason and I unfortunately didn’t know anything about landscaping, sprinklers, sod, or any of that, since we have never had a yard ourselves. So we decided to brainstorm landscape ideas with a landscape designer. She was very helpful and I would recommend this procedure to anyone in a similar situation.
After we had planned out our wonderful yard we were temporarily delayed from doing the real work for a few weeks by the remainder of the boxes in our front room that still needed unpacking and Halloween party preparation.
As soon as Halloween had passed we immediately started the mad rush to get our yard ready for sod. This rush was mainly due to the fact that we had our sod scheduled for delivery on November 17, giving us only two and half weeks to get ready. With cold weather surely on the way we did not want the sod delivered any later than it had to be. Because we were short-handed we enlisted Jason’s little brother, Matt, to be our slave monkey. We bribed him with an enormous salary of $10/hr. Ah yes, I remember the good ol’ days when that was a lot of money. Fortunately for us, Matt still thinks that is a lot of money so he was happy to do strenuous labor for us.
In addition to Matt- Jason’s parents, my dad, and several of our siblings kindly gave up many hours of their time to help us. (Thanks to all of you! You are awesome!)
Despite our time constraints, we decided to do things right and not skip any steps. As the landscaping specialist had recommended, instead of putting in top soil we spread out a whole dump truck of compost over our yard and tilled it in to amend our soil. This compost contained good old horse manure amongst other things, which led to some poo flinging fights while we were working.
We worked every spare minute of our time and were fortunate enough to enjoy lovely weather for two Saturdays in a row. I was able to wear shorts and a t-shirt- for November that is pretty impressive. (It is unfortunately a far cry from the weather now.)
This good weather did not stay with us however for the duration of our lawn installation experience. A few days before our sod was to arrive it started feeling like one would expect November to- cold and bitterly windy.
But we had no choice but to keep working. So that is exactly what we did. The north side of our house became known as the wind tunnel. For some reason all the wind channels through it and it seems twice as cold as anywhere else in our yard. So we fought over who had to work on that side and drank lots of hot chocolate.
At last the day of sod delivery arrived and we anxiously awaited its arrival, which was supposed to be at 2:00 PM. Although I had gotten off work early to put in as much sod as possible before it got dark, 2:00 came and went and our sod did not appear. Finally at 5:30, after it was already dark, our 10 pallets of sod arrived. By this time it was extremely cold but we were so thrilled to finally have the sod that Jason decided to put in as much as possible in the dark using a flood light. Our friend Rowley volunteered to help and our other friend Cameron volunteered to watch everyone work. This installation continued for an hour or two until snow finally put a stop to it. But the next day, the day before Thanksgiving, we were back at it. We worked through the afternoon and not long after it got dark we were finally done. YEAH! I had to dance around on my new lawn! It was thrilling to have it in after all that hard work.
And for all of you that are thinking, “I hope their sod doesn’t die. Isn’t November pretty late in the year to be putting in sod?” no worries. We asked the sod people lots of questions. November is a great time to put in sod. Your sod will actually fair a lot better than if you put it in in the heat of the summer. It is actually going dormant for the winter by November so it doesn’t require much attention. It is better if you are able to water it a couple times before the cold weather sets in for good and if it is kept free of snow that sticks for at least the first couple of weeks after it is put in. But even if those requirements aren’t met, it’s pretty forgiving because it’s “asleep” for the winter. Luckily, it rained several times in the first couple weeks after we put in our sod and no snow stayed for long, until now. So when spring comes we should have a yard or awesomeness!!!!
Wednesday night I had the honor of attending the Food Science Chocolate Blast with Rachel. Of course I always love this event. Great food, tons of candy, loads of chocolate, and so much geeky food science stuff that I have no idea what is going on. But I’m sure that I must get some of it in my head…. maybe…
Chocolate and Food Science
Overall once again a spectacular evening spent up in Salt Lake with Rac! And I learned all about crystallization, phase diagrams, food engineering, and so much more!!
Rac playing with her food!
Did Jason actually get thesabins.com back up and running… YES!!! I did finally get it back up and running. It’s fully functional with wordpress and the default theme… YEAH! Now it’s onward to some sweet blogging!