Merry Christmas 2016!

beltz-2016

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from our house to yours!  Another year has gone by in the blink of an eye it seems…until you start looking back on it, and then sometimes you realize just how much ground you really covered and how far in your journey you have really traveled.

2016 was a lot like that for me, and for our family.  Big changes, challenges, accomplishments and many obstacles put behind us that has led to a lot of learning and growth…and laughter!  Here is a quick update on what is up at our house!

As a family, we had to really pull together as I began Culinary School, full time, in January, 2016 and working nights at the Marriott in their Bistro & Bar.  Zachary, 23, has been ‘adulting’ a good amount of the time, thank goodness, probably more than he cares to.  He is working full time for The Cacao Company right now and is learning all about the chocolate truffle making/distribution industry.  So far, the only down side is the necessity of wearing a “beard net”.  LOL. #notquiteDuckDynastybutclose. One of the up sides to working in confections is bag after bag of the “rejects” he brings home to share with us!  (Just FYI, a reject truffle tastes the same as a perfect truffle.)  Zach loves his truck, going to movies and our puppy Bayja. He takes care of his own business and even better care of his sister.  I think he would be a great catch!  (He is going to kill me for writing that…)

Holland turned 17 in April and is a Senior at Hillcrest High School this year, she will turn 18 in April, 2017 and graduate this coming June.  Yep, you read that right.  Nope, I can’t believe it either.  She still only eats about 5 things for crying out loud!  “Sunrise, Sunset, swiftly flow the years…”  (I was singing and crying there.)  She is also a very busy bee!  Holland is on the Link Crew and in Art and the Husky Club at school.  She is also in an advanced early Childhood Development course where she assists in teaching at Hillcrest’s pre-school.  Holland loves teaching and adores the children and hopes to continue her studies in Early Childhood education after High School…or Web Animation, or Culinary School, or all three, not necessarily in that order.  She is more mature than me.

Keith continues to work for Aspen Press and has been my partner in crime this year, holding down the fort as I attended school and worked 30 to 40 hours a week.  I put in 16 hour days about 3 times during the week with my commute and Keith has been a super Mr. Mom at home, again, probably more than he cares to.  We were able to take a vacation to Palm Springs for 10 days this summer with the Beltz family.  It was the first time in our 28 years together we have traveled with Keith’s family and we had a ball!  I had the chance to practice my “Private Chef” skills and planned the menu, shopped and cooked a brunch and dinner each day in our condo for 7 days of our vacation for our party of 10!  Keith had the chance to relax and have some fun with his brother, our nieces, our kids and his Mom.  He only had one scary moment when he nearly let his Mother drown in the massive pool when she ventured past the 3-foot line, (where did Nana go?), but other than that it was a roaring success!

Finally, my 50th year has been one of massive obstacles, even bigger successes and even more hard work.  As I said, I started Culinary School in January attending Monday through Friday 8AM to 2PM.  I worked nights at the Marriott Courtyard Bistro & Bar from December 2015 thru October 2016.  Although I enjoyed my work and my Team at the Marriott, as I got closer to graduating with my degree as a Culinary Professional, I was unable to secure a full-time position.  I was offered a full-time position as a Chef in Garde Manger (means literally “eat the garden” in French.  I am in Cold Foods, salads, dressings, deli, appetizers etc.) at the Little America Hotel & Resort in SLC in October so I took it and I love it!  I finish school in mid-January and will work days from 7am to 3pm, 5 days a week.  I can’t believe I am on my way!  Yet, I can, because you all know, I do nothing the easy way.  It is in my nature to have several bumps in the road, so to speak, along my way.  True to form, I started my year out with a bang and after only 6 days of school, I slipped on the ice in my drive way early in the morning and did a face plant into the cement, nose first. Fabulous.  I broke my brow bone, shattered my nose and put my teeth through my top lip and bled like a stuck pig, I kid you not.  As I laid face down in the ice, feeling the rivers of blood running down the front of my shirt. I thought “well $#@!, I am still the same old me” and I spit out the blood, rolled onto my back and felt those rivers of blood run through my hair.  #CSImydriveway. Finally, I croaked out “help” and one month plus two surgeries later, I was back to school and had hit my annual deductible.  Geez Louise.  I think it was the blood-letting, I don’t know, but I felt all the pain from the last 2 years evaporate. Happily, I pushed forward.  I have lived and learned…did you know you can fail a roadside sobriety test even if you blow 0%?  and grown substantially over this year.  I have worked my butt off, literally and figuratively.  I have built a new career as a Chef, catered my first wedding, learned to tend bar, to barista, to butcher chickens, a pig, a side of beef and filet an Atlantic Salmon and then learned to cook them all several ways from Sunday.  I can make and bake rolls, cake, cookies and pies from scratch, for 4 or for 400.  I can make 60 gallons of Ranch dressing or Hollandaise for six.  I can slice potatoes, top strawberries or flip crepes for 5 hours straight with a smile on my face.  I have done a zillion dishes and mopped a million floors, and my first year in the Culinary Arts was 200% less stressful than my last year in Executive Banking.  Thank you, Lord.

May your days be Merry & Bright!  With all our love, The Beltz Family

-Keith, DeeAnn, Zachary & Holland

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Happy Holidays 2015!

Joyous Holiday Blessings from the Beltz Family!

Hello!  We hope this finds you and your family healthy and happy! As for us, we cannot wait for this year to be over. You know, some years seem to just fly by.  While others feel more like you are slogging through cold mud, with someone holding on to the back of your shirt the whole time. I know, right?  So yeah, good bye 2015!

Actually, we did lose one of our own tribe when Keith’s Dad, Laverne passed away from heart failure in April of this year. We miss him and love him and GO UTES! It wasn’t pretty for the Red in the end, but a win is a win. We know Papa was there in spirit and letting the expletives fly!

As for us, I lost my job at Wells Fargo in January 2015 after 27 years.  I fought it and was re-instated in April 2015.  Then Keith lost his job at Hudson after over 25 years in June 2015.  He found a new job in August 2015.  Then I lost my job again, (yes the same freaking job!) in September 2015.  Then Zachary decided to quit his job at Hudson in October 2015. At this point we decided to move to Disneyland!  As it turns out, you can only visit there, you can’t live there.  Bummer.  So we stayed a week and came home.

So Zach is 22 and thankfully has found a new job with Tele-Performance in their Customer Support / Gaming Area.  I knew all those video games had to pay off some time!  He has enjoyed having the Holidays off to relax and experiment with his beard growing abilities. It takes him about a week to grow a full beard. That kid had hair down his back and on his back from the day he was born!  Zach has started attending the Singles Ward on Sundays. (Thank you Lord!)  He will become an Elder in January, 2016. Zach is a good egg.  He is a Chicago Bears fan, a Utah Jazz fan and bleeds Ute red like his Papa!

However, Zach and Keith made a foolish mistake while living in Disneyland this year.  They chose to eat the BBQ Chicken skewers at the Bengal BBQ in Adventureland, across from the Jungle Ride. Fair warning to all, the both of them spent the next day with a case of the rumbly tumblies along with violent diarrhea.  They missed our visit to Old Town in San Diego and had to stay close to the porcelain throne in the air conditioned condo.  It was too bad really because it was a beautiful day in Old Town and Holland and I had to spend several lonely hours browsing the fabulous boutiques…all by ourselves, alone…with no one standing outside the shops tapping their toes and waiting to leave. Poor diarrhea stricken, sick kitties.

Speaking of Keith, after losing his Dad in April and leaving his job at Hudson, it took a little bit to get up and move on. But he quickly found a new position at a competitive printer and was able to join Aspen Press in August.  So far, things are good for him and for us. Their summer party was a paid and catered day at Lagoon, a local amusement park, and their Holiday Party was a private showing of the new Star Wars movie with drinks and popcorn provided!  We believe the Force is with us at Aspen Press.

Our Holland turned sweet 16 this year!  One day this summer she announced she was ready to learn to drive…with Mom.  Mom?!  Why Mom? I am the worst driver I know, except for maybe my sister Chris. Never the less, the rite of passage began, as it did with many of us, at the church parking lot.  I have to say, I was as cool as a cucumber and so, very, patient as a coach.  I swelled with pride as she hit about every other curb.  I am a curb hitter myself, as many of you know.  She takes after me.  At one point she asked for a tissue and I looked over to find her drenched in sweat with a droplet about to fall from the end of her nose.  I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, she is more nervous than I am!’  So we took a tissue break and soldiered on.  After more than an hour in the church parking lot practicing her driving skills, we decided to head home. I told Holland she could drive us home, it was just down 7800 S. and around the corner on 1000 East. She was mortified.  I told her she would be fine and she was feeling more comfortable so she agreed, and I am an idiot.

The minute she turned onto the ‘real road’ my mind voice began screaming at me, ‘MISTAKE! MISTAKE!’  There were cars coming at us, cars parked on the CURB…curb hitter!  Left hand turn!  Pedestrians!  Now I needed a tissue, and a Xanax and possibly an adult diaper.  I began sweating profusely and my ‘cool mom’ exterior melted and ran down my back and my front in rivulets.  Of course, we made it home and Dad was standing there, waiting in the driveway.  Holland jumped out of the car and proudly announced, “Well Dad, I know how to drive now!”  I gave him the big thumbs up, walked directly into my bedroom, took that Xanax and ate a Hagen Daz ice cream bar before I got the vapors.

Holland will be a senior at Hillcrest in the fall.  She enjoyed her first Prom this year and is a member of the Husky Club and an excellent artist.  She also went to Girls Camp and had a great experience, especially with her Mom as the (now retired) Camp Director.  Her favorite things are cheese dogs from Hot Dog on a Stick (New! Hooray!), her iPhone and iPad Mini, Scary Movies, (The Visit…hello!?) and her puppy Bayja, the princess diva dog.  Holland is a beautiful light in our home.

And at least our lights our still on…LOL!  Kids, you CAN afford to contribute to your company’s 401K or an IRA. 30 years of contributions saved my family’s behind during this year of unexpected and unpleasant surprises. However, it will not save your sanity.   Fortunately, we have the Light of Christ and our Faith in God to help and guide us. Not to mention the four of us are still, heavily medicated.

For me, the roller coaster of this year of unemployment, re-instatement, unemployment again and finally the loss of my career has been a lot like a ride my sister and I took at Lagoon this year. We affectionately refer to Lagoon as Galoon in our family, so we will go with that.  This year at Galoon, we rode the brand new roller coaster called ‘The Cannibal’.  When I was fired the first time from Wells Fargo, there was a long and painful process of sending resumes and applications and then waiting…and waiting,  for a response. As it was with The Cannibal, we had a long wait in line in the hot sun, fretting about it. And then I was given my job back. Time to get on the Roller Coaster. As I stepped into the Cannibal and rode the elevator stories high into the air, I felt excited and afraid for this new adventure.  Then, the elevator stopped and the doors opened to I could see the valley of the Shadow of Death, or it may have been Davis County.  I believe I caught a glimpse of the waving cowboy in Wendover.  It was exhilarating, for about 3 seconds and then I realized I was about to drop off the end of the track I thought I was on.  I looked wildly at my sister and she looked at me and said, “Mistake, big mistake.” I turned to the 7 year old sitting to my left and said, “I believe this to be big mistake on my part.” And then we sailed off the end of the world and down the Cannibal’s throat.  And I walked right back into Wells Fargo’s Executive offices.  Just like The Cannibal, it was scary at first and I thought I had made a mistake.  In hindsight maybe it was, but I trusted this Company, just like I trusted Galoon.

Going back to my job was kind of like the corporate version of “Lord of the Flies” and I ended up on the sharp end of the stick. Pun fully intended. Once the ride was over and I struggled to stand on jello legs and make my way to the Cannibal’s exit, shaking and crawling along the handrails. Dry heaving and having a hot flash all at the same time. I look up to see, by the grace of God, my sister, with both hands on the trash can sweating profusely and dry heaving just like me. And I am not alone. I realize sometimes you just need to sit one out with a cold drink before moving on to the next thing.  Just do something  benign, like squirting water into the clowns’ mouth until you win the BIG prize or grow a salad garden.  Then you must start over.  Which is what I have done.  I will start Culinary School in January, 2016 and I am working as the evening Catering / Bistro Associate at the Courtyard by Marriott in Layton. Either way it is costly, but will be rewarding in the end. I will not be returning to Wells Fargo or The Cannibal, anytime soon.

So before this gets too sappy, which would fly in the face of the point of this annual Holiday letter, let me share a recent, classic “DeeAnn” experience.   Just after Thanksgiving I had a bout with Bronchial Pneumonia. I thankfully recovered relatively quickly, but during this time I had an incident. I was about to eat a bowl of Coco Puffs one morning and as I took a bite of cereal I had a coughing spasm and actually choked on my Coco Puffs. I was in my room, silently choking and turning purple, Zach and Keith were down stairs. I could not breathe or speak. I finally put my fingers down my throat and was able to vomit. But I began coughing violently and could not get a breath. There was a terrible pain in my right lung. But at least I was loud enough to get them to come running. Again, I could not speak and I was covered in tears, puke and snot all over my face. A pretty girl, is like a melody… The pain in my lung was incredible and I realized I had aspirated the freaking Coco Puffs into my lung. The coughing was hard and unforgiving and to make matters worse Keith was smacking me on the back like I was a two year old choking in their high chair. I managed to croak out ‘911” and then help was on the way.  Keith carried me out to the living room, but all I could think of was that the cast of Backdraft was coming to my house and I was covered in puke and snot and I wasn’t wearing a bra.  I am telling myself ‘DO NOT pee or crap yourself now!’  Anyhoo, they came, they helped and the Coco Puffs dissolved and, like I said at the beginning, we survived.

So Life is good!  But you will also get a lot of unexpected line drives right to the face. So keep your mitt up.  I will be sticking to protein shakes for breakfast and… starting over.  But it is about enjoying the climb even more than reaching your destination.

We wish you a Happy New Year, with fresh starts and new adventures! Have a fabulous holiday with those you love and care about the very most!

With all the love and joy we have to give,  The Beltz Family
Keith, DeeAnn, Zach & Holland & Bayja.

                    2015 Pic

Happy Holidays 2014! …Finally :/

Holiday 2014

Well, Happy 2015…for crying out loud.  You may be surprised to see our holiday letter in February…or March, but I hope it is a pleasant surprise.  Some unfortunate and unexpected life events derailed me and it took me a little time to get my bearings. So we keep calm and carry on!  We hope all is well with you and yours!  Please know that we are all healthy and blessed.

If you haven’t heard by now, after a 27 year career, I have recently taken a leap off the Stagecoach and hit the ground with a very hard bump.  I am seeing a few stars and in the process of gathering my petticoats and brushing off the dust, so to speak.  There are no hard feelings per se, but I am still smarting a bit.  So I am currently between careers at the moment. Moving on has been a little bit of a learning experience to say the least.  I have not applied for a job since 1988, I have worked for only one employer and I am very much a stranger in a strange land!  Welcome to 2015!

Now write a LinkedIn profile and page and remember it must be worked and updated daily to make connections and ensure it is viewed.  Endorse others as you would like to be equally endorsed and be brave and select some folks you think might write you a recommendation on your page and invite them to do so.  But try not to feel badly of they ignore you or decline you.  Remember people are notified when you view their profile so don’t stalk anyone and be sure your own update notifications are turned OFF so you are not the pest of the internet. Oops.  Nothing too personal, no kids in your picture, no pets in your picture, not too formal, not too candid.  Do not use anything too old, no wedding photos.  No hubby photos, yes it has to be of yourself.  Don’t you have another Employer to add, or more Education?  You need more connections!  Look who has viewed your profile?  …someone from the Stage Coach, they wish to remain Anonymous, not helpful.

Now do a new Resume, and a Cover Letter and what the hell is a Cover Letter?  Note to self – Google “Cover Letter”. Objective statements are out, Professional Brands are in, but don’t call them a brand.  Two pages max for a resume and be sure you detail your career accomplishments separate from your skill set and your work experience and include your community affiliations and your charitable support work.  No one cares if you are married or of you have kids but be sure to include your web proficiency and social networking skills like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram etc.  Oh by the way, you will customize your resume and especially your Cover Letter (less than one page, 3 paragraphs – google it) for each job you apply for to emphasize the skills each employer is looking for specifically.  You will do this constantly because, to stay eligible for Unemployment Insurance payments, you will apply for 4 new jobs every week and submit the application information every Sunday via the Utah.gov website…or you will be deemed not eligible for Unemployment and have to start over again and re-apply.  THAT is not an option, trust me.  Plus I need that $400.00 a week to pay for the Cobra, man…  I am trying to stay focused on not eating everything in my pantry and not wearing my jammies all day.  But I am FINE!  REALLY I AM!  😉

In lighter news, Keith is working away at Hudson Printing and is looking forward to even more warm weather so he can get out on the Golf Course.  He has enjoyed sharing his rabid love for the Utes with Zach in the last year on both the football field and the basketball court!  They both enjoy watching in our theater room and attending games in person every once in a while.  However, in his old age, Keith is taking more and more after his Dad in the “rabid” department and gets quite…animated during the games and will hardly notice Zach slinking away, his face hot with embarrassment during his Dad’s ranting and raving at the TV.   Funny, because many a time has Keith come home early from his parents’ home during a game because “my Dad was out of control.”  Frankly, I find it HI-larious.  Keith is trying to stay focused on doing dishes and laundry and not on me eating everything in the pantry and staying in my jammies all day long…I told him I am FINE.  We are both on the Prozac, thank the Good and Gracious Lord.

Zach is 21 (!?) and also works full-time at Hudson Printing and he and Keith are spending good times together attending Jazz games from time to time in the court side seats with Hudson clients and pairing up for work events like the annual Holiday Breakfast.  They were “Big Ride Buddies” at Universal Studios during our family vacation this summer in Southern California and are often seen together in our neighborhood helping others with the Elders Quorum.  Zach also enjoys a round or two of golf and taking off to see the newest movie premiere.  Zach is my hero.  He has lost over 60 pounds since January of 2014 and looks super great.  He has done it by eating less and eating the right things and exercising more.  So the hard way.  He only drinks water and the occasional Gator-aid, no sweets and has his portions exactly right.  I feel like a diet coke-drinking pig in a pen next to him at dinner time but it has been nice to have him eating the same way I do as a diabetic, if not an emotional wreck of a diabetic.  Zach is our enduring spirit, our tender mercy.

Our Miss Holland is 15, sweet 16 in April.  She is a sophomore at Hillcrest High School and having the best school year ever!  She is finally placed exactly right academically and it has made all the difference in the world.  Imagine that!  Her special needs core-director at Hillcrest, Joanne Plant is literally her Fairy Godmother of Autism and one day when Holland gives two hoots about a Prince or a ball she will be Cinderella.  For now Holland is a second soprano in the Sophomore Girls Choir and has 2 recitals and a solo under her very tiny belt.  She loves to sing and has a voice like a crystal bell.  It is best showcased in the shower or when she doesn’t think anyone is listening.  She has been recognized for her art skills in Drawing and Painting and was showcased in Hillcrests’ Gallery show last spring.  She is currently working in Ceramics and Sculpture and is preparing a portfolio.  Holland also enjoyed our vacation in California.  Especially hanging out on Huntington Beach and in the beach house with her cousins and CC ad Poppy.  She is a beach bum at heart, just like her Mom.   This year she also discovered the Street Fair and I could hardly pull her and Zoe away…as if I tried very hard, I like me a Street Fair at the beach!  Holland likes shopping! …beach jewelry and beach bags and sunglasses, T-shirts and swim suits and sun dresses and especially the art.  They had a beautiful Farmers Market with fresh fruits and veggies and imagine my surprise when Zoe and Holland wanted to go “listen to the bands” while I was picking out produce.  (Translation = check out the boys!)  Needless to say, we can’t wait to go back to the beach!   Holland is our beautiful light, teaching us so much about patience and kindness every day.

So that is that for now.  The tide is sometimes in and the tide is often out in our lives and that is the way it is supposed to be.  So as I often say, “we keep our mitts up for the unexpected line drive” or painful fall off the Stage Coach, whatever the case may be.  It is in these experiences that we learn and grow the most, after the dust clears that is.  Then we continue to survive, count our blessings and be ever so grateful for what we do have…and carry on.

Much love,  Dee, Keith, Zach and Holland