Best Practices for Affordable Housing in Utah

In this opening episode, we’ll be discussing the 2020 report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute from the University of Utah that recommends best practices for affordable housing. For the first season, each episode will focus on attainable housing. 

Check out the episode here:

Episode 1: Best Practices for Attainable Housing in Utah

If you would like to review the Best Practices report in depth, check it out here: 

Best Practices in Attainable Housing for Utah

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the longest day of the year, and so many good things happened.

I had a good day at work, plowing through lots of things that needed to be done, managing mischief, as they say.

Then, after work I went to dinner with my best friend and husband Alex. We ate at River Rock Roasting Company, and sat enjoying this view:



Could my boyfriend get any cuter? Love him. And then there was this life changing salad. I really love the Amarrakesh (sp?) at Red Rock because it has this heavenly yellow lime dressing. I don’t know what else is in it, but it has just enough heat, possibly some turmeric? Whatever it is, it is exotic. The only thing I don’t love about that salad is that it is all spinach. So last night I ordered the Cobb Salad with no bleu cheese and no ranch (I can’t eat dairy – one of the greater tragedies of my life), and the lime dressing from the other salad.

Shortly thereafter, this salad came, and it was heaven on a plate. It had so many good things. Romaine lettuce, tender chicken breast, bacon – just the right level of crisp. The cucumber and eggs were sliced to thin perfection. I left the tomatoes, because I’m experimenting with avoiding nightshades for my RA diet, but even that meant a pretty red pop on the plate when I was done.

Whoever that chef is takes true pride in his or her work, and I thank them for it. It was a solstice dinner long to be remembered. I wanted to go order another one after we had left because I kept thinking about this salad.


Just look at it. I wish you could smell it and taste it. I made Alex taste it twice. It was magnificent.

Afterward, we went to Best Buy to shop for laptops for me, because it’s getting to be time I had my own.  On the way out, there was a gorgeous sunset. The pink gold clouds stopped us in our tracks, and we stood leaning against our car to enjoy it while it bloomed. iPhone pictures never do things justice, so you’ll just have to trust me. Yesterday was definitely a solstice to remember.


In Search of Resilience

I am starting a gratitude journal to get me through some stuff. Brene Brown, my idol, said resilient people are full of Gratitude, so here I am, in search of that.

Today I am grateful that I started with a bike ride down the “More Cowbell” trail. It is near the Jem Trail, which is very technical, advanced, dangerous, and internationally acclaimed by serious bikers. More Cowbell takes those bikers about 20 minutes, and is probably like a warm up for them. For me, however, it took 45 minutes. It was a an exciting way to start my day. There is nothing like riding along the edge of a cliff to help you know you are truly alive. At any moment you could no  longer be alive because you could fly off the cliff, falling painfully to your death as you roll down the rocky hill side, occasionally landing on a soft bed of cactus to console you in your last moments.

These thoughts I tried to shoo aside, because if you focus on the fall, you are bound to go there. The secret for me seems to be finding the way to just stay on the trail. It reminds me a lot of yoga, where you get yourself into some impossible situation with your body, and then the instructor says, “Find the ease in the pose.” You think, “You crazy lady.” But then your mind casts about for ease, and magically there is some to be found. That is how my bike ride was this morning. I was jittery and terrified for probably the first half mile, waiting for any moment to be my last before I hurtled off the cliff.

Then I decided that if I should lose control, my strategy would be to drop the bike off the cliff and jump to the higher ground. This decision helped me find the the first ease. I also think getting my blood flowing, breath moving, and a little sunshine on my skin helped me ease into the ride. I was lucky to be with more experienced riders who were patient with me. I watched my friend Emily, and when she stood to go over something, I did the same.

At one point we stopped to watch some crazed, I mean more experienced, bikers go over a ledge. They rode up to it, stopped, looked down, and turned around disappearing from sight. “That was logical,” I thought. Then my friend explained that they would be coming back. Sure enough, about five seconds later one of them flew over the edge and went down the hill without batting an eye, toppling end over end, or any of the other terrifying things I thought would happen if I tried such an adventure.  

After watching those three riders methodically tackle that challenge in a neighboring trail, I realized that as a beginner I was on the right trail for me, and I relaxed significantly. Adding to the charm of the More Cowbell trail is a stunning view of nearby Pine Valley Mountain to the north west, as well as miles and miles of mesas, sand formations, and sage in most other directions.

I was worried about making it back on time for work, but I did. Most importantly, I made it back. I didn’t even fall off of my bike.

So here is why I am grateful this morning:

First, I didn’t die. 

Second, my nice friends who are more experienced than me allowed me to come. They stayed to ride another more challenging trail after I left, and I was grateful for their graciousness to let me ride at my level, and to get up early on a Saturday and come with me.

Third, I got exercise in the morning. I have an autoimmune disease that makes me pretty exhausted most of the time, and when I exercise in the morning it is a huge pick me up throughout the rest of the day.  Having friend bike time to look forward to was like a way of tricking myself into exercise without thinking about it. Hooray for subversive methods to get me to move.
more cowbell

This is the cowbell. I definitely want more.