Saturday, April 5, 2014

At the Woolley Cabin Back in January

I need to get myself one of these hats

John was feeling pretty boss.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birthday Weekend in St. George

For my birthday this year I just wanted to get away, specifically to somewhere warm! Things had been crazy busy with doctor's appointments, YW, photography, field trip planning and regular work responsibilities. It so happened that my birthday weekend coincided with the end of the quarter and I had a 3 day weekend, so we booked a hotel and drove south! 

We stayed at this amazing wellness/spa resort. Since everything was so health concentric (Muesli for breakfast? Meditation group at noon?) that there were just about zero children there which created an aura of blissful silence. When we went out to the pool it was like stepping onto the hushed grounds of an water ancient temple. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but it totally felt like that after being around two hundred teens shouting at each other all week.

Our trip included kicking back and relaxing, eating healthy food, eating unhealthy food, swimming, reading, soaking, and hiking.

One of our hikes was to the petrified sand dunes in Snow Canyon. I was kind of obsessed with the textures there.

I was also fascinated by these tiny bulbous rocks that eroded from the dunes. Why does this happen geologist friends? Miriam?

Another stop was the natural white rock amphitheater.

I think air play ocarina pictures are going to be a thing for us now. John was playing Epona's song this time.
This is not what you might think it is! I know I can be gross, but promise this is old Lava flow.

Now switching over to some of John's pictures on the 5Diii:

Our daily view from the resort.

It was freezing for the first part of our hike. I had on 4 layers on top.


Since this place was so healthy we had to make a jailbreak for some Ice Berg Shakes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tessa's Baby Shower

Back in January, we had a lovely little baby shower for Jen and Dave. We made this one co-ed, hung out, ate lots of French toast souffle, and celebrated the coming of a sweet little girl.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Confession and a Book Signing

If you haven't guessed by now, I am kind of a nerd, or at least I am into *some nerd things. I read X-Men Comic books as a teenager, love all things J.R.R. Tolkien including the 1977 cartoon adaptations of The Hobbit (and yes I am one of those people who read the Similarian), played a lot of Zelda, and should have been caught for semi-plagiarizing a Dungeons & Dragons book in 8th grade.  I tried to put the nerd-ish things aside as I moved into high school, but when I met John, like cleaves unto like, and I've slowly learned to embrace this sometimes socially perilous side of myself. 

The crowning event of accepting my nerd side so far was attending the Brandon Sanderson book signing of Words of Radiance last week. 

We had dinner at 180 Street Tacos and ended up arriving at BYU early, but not as early as these guys who camped out for 3 days.  To pass the time we went to look at the fish in the Widstoe, but forgot that they had drained all the aquariums. We visited the Eyring Science Center instead to check out the new mineral display.  We thought that Miriam would approve. 

This was the crowd right before the doors of the bookstore opened. It got a lot crazier. There was a disappointingly low number of capes and costumes. Also, there were very few females. 

Me and my Mistborn buddy. He even let me hold one of his daggers.  
John's friend Richard joined the Q&A line. This guy is hardcore into Brandon Sanderson.

I also wanted to add that despite my grand plans to get an awkward family photo/sitting in Santa Claus' lap style picture with the author, it was just too crowded.  One day, one day.

* Are you a real nerd

Monday, March 10, 2014


My mom is a word person. She always had a Merriam-Webster dictionary in the kitchen to correct spelling and uses of words. She devours books and audio books. 

John is also a word person. He developed his advanced vocabulary from reading fantasy novels and because his brain retains almost everything he comes across except accurate lyrics to songs, which drives me crazy when we're both trying to sing in the car. He beat my mom in Scrabble once with the word oeuvre, after which she made an immediate lunge at that old kitchen dictionary to see if she could correct him. She couldn't. 

I'm trying to be better about continually learning new words. Most of my college days were spent learning scientific and medical terms. I remember the word bifurcated being abused quite a bit during a certain semester. These years, plus the time spent in the Philippines learning Tagalog, makes me feel like I lost out on the literary vocabulary that the history, English, art history, and poli-sci people gained. I've been writing new words I come across in books and articles in various small notebooks I have stashed around the house, in my purse, and in my teaching bag. 

Some words that I've seen that I like lately:
  • rubicund - rosiness, ruddy
  • caliginous - dark, misty, gloomy
  • eclat - brillance, flash
  • kerfuffle - a commotion or fuss
Perhaps you know all these words already.  Like I said, I feel behind in my vocabulary. There are also some words and phrases that I don't like so much.

Words and phrases that I am *not fond of:
  • Be still my heart - I don't hate hate this. It's just overused as the caption for photos and titles for blog posts. "Look at this picture of my dream house! Be still my heart!" "Channing Tatum's bare torso! Be still my heart!" "This is a picture of my dog-child! Be still my heart!" 
  • Yummy - to describe things other than food. Also, there is supposedly a scientific reason why moms call their kids yummy and "want to eat them". 
  • Sluff - Utah vernacular for ditching school. It reminds me of the monthly sloughing off of the uterine wall which we had to learn about in detail in anatomy.
  • Hubby, Hubs - part of a car
  • Preggers, Preggo - a spaghetti sauce
  • Ginorous  - sounds like female anatomy. I am also slightly disturbed by the name of the drink Orangina for the same reason, although I don't think it's pronounced in a similar fashion. People on my high school Europe trip just got it stuck in my head and now I am scandalized every time I walk into Pirate O's and am accosted by a wall of this drink. 
But who knows? Maybe I should just embrace these words. They might become the cool phrases that mark our generation, like Rat Fink in the 30's or  Daddy-O in the 50's. But I secretly hope not.

On another note, have you read the alterations they're planning on making to the SAT? One of the things they're taking out is obscure vocabulary words.  On the one hand I understand how these words aren't the best measurements of intelligence.  Success in the workplace is a lot more focused on problem solving, analysis, and the ability to create, but at the same time the artful use of words can be beautiful, humorous, and striking. 

*If you have used these words or currently use these words this doesn't mean that I do not like you. I probably don't remember a specific person who used them. I've just seen and heard them a lot during the last 7 years and they resonate with me like finger nails on chalk boards. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Belated Valentines

John and I postponed our Valentine's Day this year because of packed schedules and the hard week we'd had previously. It was a mutual decision so there weren't any shattered expectations when we ended up running errands and crashing early for bed on actual V-day.  Let me tell you though, I think I'm a huge fan of postponing Valentines Day. We didn't feel like we were competing with others for anything. It was laid back, no pressure, and probably my favorite Valentine's celebration yet.

We started the day with homemade Belgian waffles with Biscoff spread, strawberries and whipped cream, syrup and candied bacon. John actually cooked everything. He's been cooking a lot lately!

We did little gift baskets for each other that were filled with small treats. I got John some gourmet cheeses that were actually really difficult for me to shop for. I was in that cold refrigerator room in Pirate O's for awhile smelling all the cheeses and running back to look at the cheese chart they have posted.

John got me mini daffodils. I like that they'll stay alive and grow and I can plant them in our yard later. They're still blooming right now.

John's basket to me had a theme: Things I like to eat but he hates. It included gourmet pickles, dark chocolate, and nori wrapped Japanese rice crackers. A pack of strong spearmint gum was also included. We also had a indulgently lazy afternoon watching Elysium which we both didn't end up liking. 
I'd never been to Park City during the busy season and it was bustling! We had a food lovers dinner at Riverhorse on Main. I made John try the bone marrow, but our favorites were the crispy goat cheese salad and the *buffalo short ribs.  

Main Street lights.

*Ever since my friend Morris posted this article about over- and underrated meats I've been trying to be more adventurous. Also, I may have made a list of the underrated meats and put it in a google doc for a quick reference on my phone when ordering. Food obsessed I am.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cedar Valley

Last week John and I experienced some hard things; some dashing of hopes that can leave one with the type of sadness you can get lost in if you're not careful.  We are so thankful for the thoughtfulness, prayers, and words from our family and close friends that have helped us feel not so alone during this time.

To help ease the weight of dampening thoughts, we went on a little excursion on President's Day. It ended up being just the thing to make me feel like my old self.

I used this Utah birding website to find a trail and set out with multiple cameras, wellies, and snow boots to feel the fresh air and see some wildlife. Our playlist, provided by Sirius XMU, included tunes by Foxygen, Japandroids, Sun Kil Moon, and the Broken Bells. A herd of pronghorn antelope were first spotted, but it was across the street from a Walmart. It was still cool though. Only in Utah.

The first stop chosen from the site was Manning Canyon.  There are great fields on the way out to this destination without barbed wire fences to prevent one from running like crazy in the grasses. The drive up to the canyon proved treacherously muddy, even for all wheel drive, and we had to turn around since we started slipping and spinning out in the sludge. We got out of the car a bit to admire the Pinyon-juniper woodland which reminds me of an Oompa Loopa/Dr. Seuss landscape because all the trees are low, round, and stunted looking. We'll have to revisit in warmer, drier weather.

The second location was a random part of Cedar Fort just past the Stage Coach Inn. We stopped at the closed inn to take a peak through the windows. Its historical marker claims that "Mark Twain most likely stayed here". The real attraction of this area is a bald eagle nesting site situated in a line of trees on someone's farm. After driving around in the fading sunlight without seeing anything significant we decided to give up, but just as we turned around we spotted two eagles, one soaring! It was awesome!  "Frodo the eagles!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Smattering from winter, summer, and fall

In other words, this is the post where I'm dumping my various film pictures from the Mamiya (medium format) and Pentax (35mm) for posterity and all. I have been inconsistent with practicing so these are all spread throughout last year. You will see many pictures of John here for he is my muse. John fans will rejoice and John enemies will rant in frustration.  John neutrals will shrug with a "meh".

We took our niece, Athelia Claire, to the children's water garden at Thanksgiving Point.  I couldn't pretend not to be grossed out by the copious amounts of recycling water that the children were imbibing there. Athelia was so happy so watching her served as a good distraction.

The Homestead resort for our 7th anniversary. John was humoring me with a Legend of Zelda pose (there's an imaginary ocarina in his hands) for some focusing practice.

Wedding tent.
The Everglades.

John's lovely light capture of Carli Spoon.

Jen's maternity shoot. Little Tess is here now!

I made everyone go on this cow water barrel ride at Cornbelly's. It was super short and pretty lame, but I like that we all look like it's the bee's knees.

Kids being tortured to ride the cows.
Assisting for the Nash family photos at Utah Lake.

Oh Provo, land of our college aged youth!

The river Jordan, I mean the Jordan River.

Millcreek in an early fall snow.