Liquor Laws

Growing up LDS in Utah, the liquor laws that so many complain about were irrelevant to me until I grew up.

In the late eighties, to get a drink in a restaurant, one had to get up from the table and buy mini bottles. That was odd.  Now, you can’t buy mini bottles.

Over the years, the laws morphed. Frankly, I didn’t keep up with them.

But, now, there is a new law. Now, restaurants and bars ask EVERYONE for identification. It makes an old broad like me feel young.

ID-ing an  old broad at Ghidotti's.

ID-ing an old broad at Ghidotti’s.

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It’s More Than a Dog Walk

I’ve written about this before. . . when I walk my dogs, it’s more than a dog walk. It’s a commitment to engage with my neighbors and my community.

I wish I’d taken a picture tonight. Faith, Booker, Gus, Daisy, Jack, Charlie, and Marly all played in the open space while we, their stewards, chatted about barbecues on the Fourth of July, jobs, and dogs.

Before getting to the open space, we visited with Shadow and Teddy. They were out with their “dad,” Jeff.

Prior to that, we stood outside Vanessa’s house and visited with the neighbors who don’t have dogs.

As I recall, there’s a yo-yo trick called, “Walking the Dog.” Here, in my ‘hood, walking the dog is connecting.

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What’s in a Name? by Gus Hooker

What’s In a Name?

By Gus Hooker

In 2010, I was rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri. With a little help, along with 89 other dogs, I made my way to Utah. Eight of us ended up at Furburbia.

The hu-mom saw my picture. As you can see, I’m a strawberry-blonde – just like her! They called me “Barley.” Hu-mom said she was going to foster, but that was never her intent.


She came into my kennel and crouched down next to me. I could smell the treats in her pocket, but I pushed myself as far as I could into the corner. Hu-mom picked me up and I made my body rigid.

The curly-haired lady at Furburbia explained that that was why I was the only one left. Then, she told hu-mom, “He may never be a ‘real’ dog.”

When we got home, hu-mom called me “Harley” because it rhymed with Barley, but sounded tough. She knew I was tough.

But, I didn’t respond.

One day, hu-mom and her friend, Elfie (her real name is Nora), were sitting at the table. I was on the landing of the stairs watching them.

Hu-mom said the name “Gus.” My ears perked up and I looked her in the eye. I told her, “That’s right. My name is Gus.” 

According to hu-mom, I was named for Captain Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove. He was a Texas Ranger that just needed a second chance.



Last year, hu-mom read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.Image

One of the main characters is like Captain Augustus McCrae. His name is Augustus Waters. He needed a second chance, too.



I needed a second chance.

I got it.


The other day, my hu-mom’s mom said, “It is funny that you have a dog named after your grandfather.”


My hu-mom’s dad’s dad was named Gustave Sandstrom. After having a horse shot out from underneath him in World War I, he got a second chance, too.


You know how names have meanings? I think Gus should mean “second chance.”

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3 Things NOT to Say to an English Teacher You Want to Date

3 Things NOT to Say to an English Teacher You Want to Date


To be fair, presuming you want a second date with me, these are three things you should not say.

  1. After surveying the coffee table in my living room, “Ummmm.   It looks like you read a lot.” (On the table rested four magazines: Vegetarian Times, Vanity Fair, Time, and Yoga Journal along with David and Goliath, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Untethered Soul.)
  2. “The last book I read was The Great Gatsby in Mr. Gate’s English class at Skyline High School.”
  3. “I don’t read fiction. I read The Book of Mormon before on my mission.”
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Eating 101 by Gus Hooker

I know these photos make it look like I’m in prison, but this is my spot.  This is where I choose to eat.



When I first moved in with the Hooker Horde, hu-mom put kennels all over the house for me.  I felt safe in the kennel.  I’d run from kennel to kennel. 

Then, she took the kennels away.  That’s when I found my special spot on the stairway landing.  While the photos are of poor quality, I think you can see that from my perch, I can see everything that is happening below me in the living room.  I like that. It makes me feel safe.

(On another note, the photos are bad because hu-mom is lazy and just uses her phone instead of the new Nikon she bought.)

Back to the landing . . . even though I love my hu-mom (I told the pet psychic to tell her that), I don’t like it when she comes near me when I’m eating.  So, while I eat my Merrick mixed with some tasty raw morsels and sweet potatoes, she sits on the sofa.


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Reasons to Sleep



Recently, I re-read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Over and over, the main character, Hazel, talks about sleep noting that it is good for cancer patients, it “cures cancer.”

In March, I read a piece in Forbes that said, “Lack of sleep kills brain cells.” In fact it stated, that sleep loss could lead to “irreversible brain damage.”

Another study explained that lack of sleep created a condition similar to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Maybe it was my Mormon upbringing in my perfectionist family (one could perform open heart surgery on my the floor of my father’s garage), but, until recently, I felt guilty when I slept.

I thought I should be cleaning the house, reading, writing, running, or working in the garden. Sleep seemed like a waste of time.

But, today, I took a nap. 

It felt delicious. And, I felt better.


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Be Kind to the Skinny Girl: Keep Your Comments to Yourself


Be Kind to the Skinny Girl – Keep Your Comments to Yourself

You know you’re too skinny when your Lululemon tights look baggy. Today, I looked in the full-length mirror and was shocked to see that my tights were not tight. In fact, they are downright baggy.

Then, the tears came.

According to Dwight, next to smile, my ass was my best feature. Now, that asset is gone.



The ring Dwight made me when we divorced, no longer fits on my finger. It is too loose.

It is not as if I am blind or cannot read a scale.

Stress and sadness causes some to overeat. For others, like me, it eviscerates my appetite.

As a vegetarian, it is even harder to gain weight.

Remember, as Ian Maclaren, a Scot, said, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

To that end, please, keep your comments to yourself.

A few months ago, another teacher walked by my room where I was standing outside during the passing period. Using a snide tone, she said, “There is such thing as too skinny.”

Later that month, I walked into the faculty lounge for lunch. The same teacher looked at me and, in front of everyone, said, “You look like Skeletor.”

Recently, I had a BHD (Broken Hearted Diet).

In my late twenties, I was cycling, mountain biking, and practicing yoga extensively. I could not consume enough calories. One night, Dwight and I went to a party. The Disgusting Brothers were playing a Jimmy Buffet song as I walked out of the room. Dwight’s friend, Joanne, whispered to him, “Does Julie have cancer?”

Stress causes me to lose weight. Mean-spirited comments from colleagues don’t help.

Just be nice. Be nice to the skinny girl.

In fact, just be nice.  Period.

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