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Summit Up

Summit Up

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column with junk in its trunk.

That’d be the trunk of our two-wheel-drive beast of a car, and said junk is 120 pounds of sand.

You see, this is our first time experiencing the winter wonderland that is Summit County. And while that brings a ton of perks, it also means we are dealing with the learning curve of driving with the white stuff on the roads.

Don’t get us wrong. Our home in the Midwest got snow, but the blanket of powder that covers the roads here even after plowing just wasn’t something we had to worry about. We here at Summit Up can claim to be experts on many subjects, but road maintenance is not one of them, so we hesitate to be critical of Colorado’s snow removal methodologies.

Still, we can’t help but wonder a little what the difference could be between clearing away mountain snow and Midwest snow. Such speculation comes most readily when we’re driving on I-70 to work at the Temple of Public Enlightenment known as the Summit Daily’s offices ” at between 30 and 40 miles per hour, praying that the cars ahead of us have made deep enough tracks for us to follow along.

We’ve heard that CDOT uses some kind of chemical solution (magnesium chloride?) to melt snow and ice instead of salt, because it doesn’t have the negative impact on forest root systems that salt does. If this has anything to with the quality of the roads, then it brings us to a crisis of conflicting values. We are all for sustainability, green living, etc., but in moments of weakness ” again, mostly in between hasty prayers behind the wheel ” we think, “Forget the trees; I want to be able to see pavement!”

One Summit Daily staffer warns us to be careful what we wish for though. A transplanted Midwesterner himself, he suspects leaving some snow on the roads serves a purpose. For traction, “Snow is better than ice,” he points out.

Because the contents of a newspaper should seek to serve some public good, not just be an inky version of some whiny blog, we’ll open this topic up for reader response. If you have some clue about the reasoning behind Colorado’s snow removal style, let us know at summitup@summitdaily.com.

And if you have any tips on Summit driving with two-wheel drive, we’re happy to hear them. The sand in the trunk has helped matters considerably, to the point that we can now make turns at stoplights without sliding at all. But that darn I-70 is still a problem.

***

We out, and off the roads as much as possible after a big snow, until the sun has had

some time to work its magic.

***

And now for something completely different.

We at Summit Up recently received a press release offering tips for holiday party planning from Mary Jo Rulnick, author of The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Feeding Family and Friends.

While so many of these releases get tossed in the trash, we figured, hey, why not pass some ideas along? As far as holiday season gifts to our readers go, it’s the least we could do. Really.

So from Ms. Rulnick to us to you, here’s your blueprint for the perfect holiday get-together:

– Include music in your gathering. Match music to the gathering and the crowd.

– Plan your menu by making as much of it self-serve as possible. Set up a drink station so guests can help themselves.

– Serve small bite-size appetizers so you can eliminate the need for utensils and spills on your carpeting when guests are trying to cut something in half and the piece of kielbasa lands on your carpeting.

– Using foam and paper plates will cut down on after-party clean-up; however, use holiday-themed colors in the paper products to add pizzazz to the table.

– Buy all nonperishable items one week prior to party day. The day before the party make a last minute trip to pick up perishables. Be sure to confirm you have all the required ingredients for your recipes. Add any forgotten item to your shopping list.

– One week before, toss near-empty bottles and jars and anything that’s been in the frig longer than you can remember to make room for party day food.

– Make as many dishes a day ahead as possible. Or mix dry ingredients together, adding wet ingredients on cooking day. Or measure out ingredients and place in containers or zippered bags a few days earlier to make preparation time go faster.

– Keep garbage cans throughout the party area so guests can dump their own plates and not leave them on your coffee tables or another other flat surface they find.

– Assign tasks to family members or early bird guests. Include everything from slicing the ham, putting out appetizers, serving drinks, lighting candles and so forth.

– Buy extra disposable containers to keep on hand for any leftovers and to send food home with guests. You won’t have to search for containers when downsizing the leftovers and this eliminates the chance of never seeing your good dishes again.

***

We out, now making the guest list for our wicked awesome holiday party.


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