Ski Report


“Funny Farm” has been on hiatus while several cast members were partaking in a Utah ski vacation, along with my cousins, Marianne and Mike.

In 2013 we shared a similar ski trip to Park City. This year we were bumped to nearby Deer Valley, since our holiday plans coincided with Sundance Film Festival, which is firmly rooted in downtown PC. The upside of this event conflict? The ski slopes were empty (Deer Valley, conveniently quiet… the Park City Resort, eerily abandoned). Sundance prep and the actual event meant no lift lines and a mountain full of open runs, sparsely dotted with a thin smattering of skiers. 


The mobs at Park City Resort


While the ski resort was a ghost down, downtown Park City was quite the opposite: practically impenetrable thanks to traffic and parking congestion.


We ventured into town a few times for cocktails or food, but the main street was clogged with vendor kiosks, cordoned-off media enclosures, and enormous, glowing sponsorship tents which sprouted in every available square and courtyard. The slopes proved far more alluring than Park City’s trumped-up crowd of glam Hollywood stars and wannabes.

Not to say that, deep down, I’m not a “wannabe.”

After swishing down the ski runs near the swanky St. Regis of Deer Valley, we scheduled an afternoon break on the patio. The hotel boasts an impressive entrance: guests glide up the mountain aboard a glitzy funicular, which deposits patrons in a top notch, wine bottle-clad bar and restaurant.

The ski-in entrance is equally bewitching, marked with a handcrafted ice castle:



The room rate at this hotel was more impressive than the lobby: in the high season (ie, now) a base room, with a queen-sized bed and mountain view — will set you back $2,500 a night.

Twenty-five hundred. A night.

Ouch! (The funicular rides are free. Hey, thanks.)

So we snubbed Sundance, but I gawked at the glam hotel crowd, while sipping an over-priced drink.

However, that accounted for just an hour of vacation. More than anything else, we skied.  A lot.

But not without drama.

Details, in the next Funny Farm post.




Family footwear, freshly polished.

Consider this a blog reboot.

It has been 35 days since my last post.

I could wend my way back into the blog with December news, which consists of a casualty list: Martin’s knee swelled up like a cantaloupe (Lyme disease): Jazz bucked me off while fox hunting (bruising my pride and my tailbone); and Maisie sliced open two legs while running near razor-sharp roofing supplies (many stitches later, she’s fine).

But I’m not going there. I’m gonna pick up where I left off: with the barn roof.

Keep your eyes peeled for follow-up roofing photos Friday. We’ll regroup then.


But before I sign off — in blog-related news — Cayden dropped the following bombshell this afternoon:

“Hey Mom, I read your blog at school today.”

I nearly drove off the road.

What? I asked. How did you read my blog?

“I got done early with my Chromebook. I had extra time.”

How’d you find it?

“I googled ‘Funny Farm.’ It was pretty easy to find.”

I didn’t know what to say. I felt…


And transparent. Exposed. I wanted to say: don’t read my blog! 

But I couldn’t explain why. I couldn’t say that my mother reads my blog — and that’s bad enough — and I’m not ready for my 9 year old to monitor my musings. 

I didn’t know what to say. Except “Oh.”

Oh, in a flat, noncommittal tone.

I liked those featured blog posts,” Cayden continued. “‘Baking Memories’? I liked reading that. And ‘Power to the Sheeple’? That’s a good one, too.”

Oh, I said, weakly. Well… thanks.

“And the cast of characters. I liked that.”

Well, I need to update that link, I explained, somewhat apologetically. Got to make a note to do that.

I just wanted to conversation to be over. End. This. Discussion.

Cayden must’ve registered my reticence, because he wrapped up his review with a verbal pat on the back: “Well, you’ve got 13 new readers for sure.”

Thirteen? I said quizzically.

“Yea! Half of my class. They were reading over my shoulder!”

Great. Third graders. My target audience.

(Cayden, if YOU or your brethren are reading this right now, do something else! Google “Civil War history,” or “presidential trivia.” Feel free to look up”brethren,” as well.)



City mouse, country mouse

When it comes to race, religion, color and creed, our kids are fairly open-minded.

They are nonjudgemental. I’d hazard to say that they are “colorblind,” concerning race and ethnicity.

(Let’s hope they retain these views.)

Now that I’ve logged these niceties, I must add the following:

The kids are not without bias. They discriminate against a group of people.

Who’s caught in their crosshairs? Whom do they stereotype? Whom do they disparage?

City folk.

You people who deign to dwell in a townhouse.

Even you guys who own a quarter-acre in the suburbs.

You’re guilty as well.



Martin and I first learned of this disparity last year, while we were all staying in a hotel in Washington, DC. It was an unusually warm December day, and kids of all ages were careening down a steep, grassy hill that adjoined the hotel courtyard.

Cayden led the charge down the slope and when he reached the bottom, he shouted to his sister: “Hey, Hadley!  DON’T KNOCK OVER THE CITY KIDS! They don’t know how to FALL like farm kids, and their parents will FREAK out!”

Okay! Got it!” Hadley shouted in response, suspiciously eyeing the kids beside her.

Martin and I exchanged looks. And we slouched down in our seats.

Just like that, a stereotype was born. City kids versus country kids. And our children continue to feed it, vocalizing apparent inadequacies of urban dwelling individuals.

In case you’re keeping track, urbanites are fragile, weak, easily injured and incapable of handling stressful situations. 

Last summer — after I encountered a deer with my car — I told the kids about the accident. And I mentioned that another driver was equally unlucky: she also struck the same deer with her car, and was unhinged by the event.

Hadley nodded at me knowingly. “That other driver,” she said. “Was she…you know… city folk?”


The irony of all of this? Our kids aren’t as country as they think. We don’t own a working farm. Our kids can’t drive a tractor or milk a cow. Their agriculture roots are thin.

Still, they are loyal to rural life.

A few weeks ago, I had to run some errands in downtown DC, and Cayden and Hadley tagged along. We’d barely crossed a street before it became clear that the kids were out of their element. I shepherded them between traffic and yelled as they strayed outside the crosswalk.

“Jeez!” I said, grabbing their collars. “You country kids can barely cross the street! You wouldn’t survive a day in the city!”

“Huh,” Cayden snorted. “Who would want to?”