Diver: Lauren Slaff, Very Personal Chef and culinary instructor

Interesting facts: Lauren specializes in whipping up the gravy and getting your roast into the oven


Got a dirty little secret?
Looking for guidance to remedy a sticky situation?

Seek help from the master of the kitchen! The Dish Diver has solutions to life's little messes. Send your problems to "Ask the Diver." - By mail to Durango Telegraph - Attn Diver -534 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301; by email at telegraph@durangotelegraph.com, or by fax at 259-0448.

Dear Diver,

What is mercury in retrograde and why is it ruining my life? Problems, glitches and technical meltdowns have been around every corner lately. Please help.

–  Astrologically Inept

Dear Inept,

I am deeply concerned for your well-being. If the three or so weeks Mercury is in retrograde (which is over now, phew!) is ruining your life, then perhaps your ineptitude is not that of astrological influences but of finding balance and perspective.

Yes, I agree the effects are maddening when the orbit of the planet Mercury slows several times a year appearing to reverse (as a snowboarder appears to do when passed by a skier swooshing by on the “roads” at Purg). Mercury is the ruling planet of communication and transportation and loses some of its power during these phases.

Yes, you will miss appointments, screw up dates, endure computer crashes and have bad hair days. But isn’t that the beauty of living in Durango? Who really keeps their appointments or returns phone calls anyway? We are the Olympic champions of the sport of erratic communication and commitment!

Take this time to let loose your strangling ties to the rat race. Embrace the call of the wild and remind yourself of the reasons you live here and not in, say, Washington, D.C. Aren’t you just giddy that you didn’t have to take over

responsibility for our insane economy a couple weeks ago instead of deciding whether or not to roll with the mishaps and hit the powdery slopes?

– Diver

Dear Diver,

How quickly a year passes. Here we are, on the brink of Valentine’s Day, and once again I’m all out of ideas. What’s the perfect Durango dream date? FYI, I’m a caring dude of modest means who wouldn’t mind partying a bit with his sweetheart. Feel free to educate me on any V-Day pitfalls I should dodge as well.

– Hoping for long-term lovin’

Dear Caring Dude,

Unless your sweetheart is your frat buddy or a hunky mountain man, partying down is not the ideal expression of this gushy Hallmark holiday.

If you are truly hoping for long term lovin’, as you say you are, than the buzzword is ROMANCE. And believe me, I know it is hard to imagine anything more romantic than heading down to El Rancho, tossing back copious amounts of Jager and staggering home to grope one another until someone pukes or passes out.

Alas, there are some ways to incorporate your desire for partying with the lady’s notion of romance here in Durango while maintaining your modest budget. How about filling up your Sigg with some steaming spiked cocoa and taking a sunset snowshoe jaunt until the stars come out? By that time she’ll probably be both relaxed and chilly and ready to be held tight, fed a simple home-cooked meal at your place, sip on a full-bodied red (yes, you can find luscious varietals that don’t come in a box for about 10 bucks) and a couple of squares of Chocolove. Follow these simple steps and then, good man, the road is paved for the Valentine’s lovin’ you say you crave.

– Diver

Dear Diver,

What’s up with people in Durango and the weather? When it’s dumping, Durangoans bitch about icy roads, shoveling, empty grocery store shelves and getting plowed in. When the sun is shining, we moan about icy bumps at Purg, low run-off, wildfire and having to ski corduroy day-after-day. So which is it? Rain, snow or shine?

– Deborah in Durango

Dear Durango Deb,

Ah, dear friend, this paradox is not limited to the fine folks of our little hamlet in the mountains but to all weather hypocrites with the fine luck of not having bigger things to complain about or simply the penchant for pessimism.

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who worked his crops for many years. In this story he is presented with what appear to be both blessings and obstacles. The day before the large crop is to be harvested his son, whom he is solely relying upon to aid in this arduous task, breaks his leg rendering him helpless. When the neighbors come to offer their sympathy over his poor luck, the farmer replies, “It is neither fortune nor misfortune.” The following day, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good fortune and to this he again replied, “It is neither fortune nor misfortune.”

On the same day you can be both a fatigued laborer with a snow shovel in your hand or a psyched skier knee deep in powder; or in recent contrast, you can be unhappily skidding, scraping and pounding the icy bumps down on Blackburn’s or relishing the random gift of a stellar climbing day under the brilliant blue skies of Colorado in February.

– Diver

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows