Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Candy and Imagination

I don't think there's anything better for kids than candy and imagination. Do you really need to teach kids to enjoy candy? No of course not what a stupid question. The same goes for imagination. But these days with sports teams, video games, and organic foods and all that other healthy business you might have to do a little coaxing to help them really understand how fun both of these things are. And if you want them to enjoy candy as much as I enjoy candy then yes, believe it or not, there needs to be a little training involved... (including how to get Nerds out. What is Jacob doing with his finger in the box???)
Most of you know my house was robbed last December. I've been slow to replace anything, including my TV and any of the gaming systems I had. They used to be what occupied my nieces and nephews when they came over to my house. So since then they've had to resort to old fashion imagination types of fun. This weekend it came down to playing in boxes. At first I saw them crawling in this box and rolling around while the others just kicked them which didn't look so fun but luckily that didn't last long. Then I saw these two climbing the stairs like this. What an accident waiting to happen! So I distracted them with candy. These two are well on their way to developing as many cavities as their Aunt Katie. I was so proud.
video
It kind of reminded me of giving treats to my dog to make her do tricks but in this case they didn't do any tricks they just made a mess and I was left with a pile of nerds on the floor when they finally waddled away. But it was all in the name of progress and education of the next generation. I think I'll go watch some Willy Wonka movies now...

Celebrations

This weekend I had almost all my family over at my house for a few celebrations. My brother Nate graduated from BYU with his MPA (Masters of Public Administration) and then he and my niece Samantha had birthdays a day apart. Even my Aunt Inez came over for it all. The only one missing was my brother Bryce. Too bad too since he'd just run the Boston marathon in an amazing time, we could have celebrated that too if he were there but he was still out having a good time in New York so I don't feel too bad him.
(My sister wishes she was as tall as me...look at her standing on her tip toes)
Birthdays when everyone gets together usually calls for a Baskin Robbins Mint Chip Roll Cake, but I didn't feel like driving all the way to get one. We still had to have the mint chip ice cream cake though so no fancy desserts were homemade. As much as I like cooking sometimes it is nice to just buy something. Cold Stone makes pretty tasty cakes...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Black and White

Despite what you see in this picture (the ugliest picture ever) and the fact that it looks a lot worse in person, I'm still loving rock climbing. I went out twice this week to Little Cottonwood Canyon for my first multi pitch route and then to Rock Canyon for a few singles and then up 3 pitches. I don't know where all these bruises came from since I never fell. The coloring continues up and down and around the backs of my legs as well as on my arms. I even have a big one on my foot though I do remember that one happening when a rock fell on me. I was at the doctor's today and had to put on a gown that only came to my knees. He didn't even ask what happened to my legs! I remember how I used to love getting tan and wearing short shorts when I was a teenager...not anymore. It looks like I'm going to be black and blue with a pasty white background this summer...all underneath some nice long pants.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I want bookshelves

"Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.-David Quammen, The Boilerplate Rhino
I stumbled upon this quote while stalking a strangers blog. It was some girl who lives in New York. I love stalking New Yorker's blogs... and locals too...they're my favorites. But I read this and a sighed with relief because it made the large piles of unread books in my house makes sense, it made them ok, it made them a good thing, and it made me feel better about myself instead of guilty. I'm feeling so good maybe I'll go buy some books...
And because I have so many of these books I want bookshelves...and some pretty wallpaper and framed art, and fancy pillows, and everything else in this room. But mostly I want the bookshelves.
Which made me start looking for some more ideas on bookshelves....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! I scourered my pictures for ones that seemed good for today and found this one of Katrina up at Brighton this fall. It seemed to send the right message...except that it's a fall picture and I'm wanting it to be spring.
The only exciting thing I'm doing today is eating hot dogs for lunch at work. Not really very exciting. Maybe another day I'll be able to go somewhere fun and outdoors. Until then I'll just have to look at my pictures. Here's a few shot from my favorite place on Earth.
The landscape artist Francis McComas (1875-1938) described Point Lobos as "The Greatest Meeting of Land and Water in the World" and I agree.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut

I just finished a fantastic book that is completely out of my taste in books. "A Man Without A Country" by Kurt Vonnegut. I've never read any of his books. I don't like science fiction and I get tired of a book with anything political in it. I didn't even finish the last few chapters of The Jungle because I got tired of reading about Socialism. Plus this one isn't even one of his novels, it's non fiction which is something else I rarely read. But I loved this book. I didn't even mind the politics in it. He makes so many good points on so many topics and I find myself often thinking, "I've thought that too, I didn't know anyone else did." Not to mention it's hilarious in such a dry sarcastic way, I'm thinking I might go read some of his novels now. This is one of my favorite parts I thought I'd share. Good advice for all...
But I had a good uncle, my late Uncle Alex. He was my father's kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life-insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter

This year we had Easter dinner at my house. My parents were in town and Andy and Nate both came over with their families. It was pretty fun and it was pretty darn good too! Which means we ate it all and were cleaning up before I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of us all sitting around the feast. None of the kids hunting eggs in my front yard either. Oh well. We did some other stuff over the weekend that I did manage to get a few shots of. These were the "twilight zone" eggs. We thought the first one I cut open was so cool but as each one I sliced through was again double yolked Andy freaked out and said it was like the Twilight Zone. I don't know what's so scary about double yolks but apparently they rank up there with zombies and time travel. I hear they're good luck so I can't wait to see what great things are going to happen to me after this. While I cooked the sides and Andy turned all creative on the salad and Nate smoked the brisket, Emily and the grandparents kept the kids occupied with Easter egg crafts.
And it looks like Sarah has rubbed off on her little sister because they are now both obsessed with reading the little tiny books on my bookshelf. It was so cute I had to take a picture...or two...or three... ok I took about 25 but I'll only post 3. (I just noticed how big this picture makes my chair and my plant look) Monday was so nice we took a short little hike in Draper to a waterfall. I hit my head on a tree and Emily hit her head on a rock but the kids managed to get out of it safe. Usually it's the other way around.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Random Bits of Fun

Here's what I did yesterday. It's me and Doug Grigsby holding some baby chickens. How random and fun can you get?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pictures of Simon with Cake

I'm not sure why I find taking pictures of my nephew Simon with his birthday cake so much fun, but I must have come home from his party with well over 50 on my camera.
I thought I got all I'd ever need last year when he turned one... ...but this year turning two seemed just as much fun (and more chocolaty!).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mastering the skill of Self Portraits

I wonder how old a kid has to be before they get the concept of taking your own picture together? I was trying to get a picture of me and my niece Samantha but she just didn't get it. The more I tried the worse it got. She better learn this skill if she ever plans on going anywhere with less than three people.

Then this happened and I decided I must have severe ADD because even though I was taking my own picture, somehow in that fraction of a second between pressing the button and the picture taking I was distracted.

It wasn't even something big or startling that got my attention, I just got distracted. I guess I shouldn't give Samantha a hard time till I can master taking my own picture first. Simon didn't do much better but at least he wasn't trying to grab the camera.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Two very different things I dream of...

Back to the whole Katie and Suzanne split personality thing... maybe Candi was right... maybe I do have a split personality because I don't know that the same person should be craving both of these things so badly. I wonder which side of me is Katie and which is Suzanne and who is craving which item? Oh well, it doesn't matter, they're just dreams...

but maybe someday...

...if I'm lucky...

...I can have them both

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weekend in Zion

Well at the last minute Jake decided he wanted to spend his birthday away from the cold and that I should join him on a trip South. I've gotten a hang of this not saying no to trips thing so after we got home from the climbing gym on Thursday we started packing things up for a weekend of camping, climbing, and hiking in Zion National Park. I left early from work on Friday and we were on our way. It was the first long trip my car has taken since being fixed and it worked wonderfully. It was nice to have a CD player too since the one in his car is broken and since I'd made him a few CDs for his birthday it was a good way to enjoy them. Saturday we did climbing. The trams weren't running yet so we drove up and down the loop looking for a nice short easy crack to try out our skills on... well... try out Jake's skills. I have no crack climbing skills unless you count the 6 feet of crack I climbed with Gina at the gym earlier that week. I wouldn't recommend Zion as a place to learn how either. Everything there is so big! We put on our packs...(it'd been awhile since I'd had a heavy pack on my back and it kind of felt good) and found our way to a nice spot with a view of the canyon to the left and weeping rock on our right. I could tell by Jake's very brief explanation of how to clean a route that I probably wasn't going to be needing his instructions that day. I was right. I belayed him for about an hour and a half as he set the route... I got some good sun... watched families going to weeping rock and pointing at us for their kids... enjoyed the view... took a few pictures (but never let go of the rope of course!) You don't mind just standing around doing that when you have such a nice view.
I watched Jake climb with all the gear and decided I'm not too interested in someday leading a trad climb. I don't know if I could carry all that weight up behind me.
It was heavy enough just carrying half of it up there in my backpack. I did attempt the climb myself and though I fell a lot and sat on the rope quite a bit I made it up about half way. I surprised myself even by how far I got and how satisfying it was. At least I got to leave all the gear at the bottom. Afterwards we went over to weeping rock where I took this picture which I think is my favorite from the whole trip. It looks better when you see it bigger than a little blog picture. We then spent the evening going around watching all the climbers on the big walls with the binoculars. Other than that the highlight of the day was seeing a California Condor. The idea of extinction really kills me so to see one of those birds out in the wild after knowing they were down to just 5 was really awesome to me. I could hardly believe it at first. We also saw some wild turkeys. Sadly this was the only shot I got of our amazing birding experiences that day... a turkey's butt. The next day was Jake's birthday... ...after pancakes with cookie bits stirred in we packed up for a hike. He wanted to do two... (In my head I said yeah right but said ok anyway) We hiked up the trail head at Weeping Rock and took a detour about a mile up Hidden Canyon. We knew it'd still have snow at the top so we turned back when we came to a spot where we knew it'd be hard to come back down. It reminded me just enough of the Orderville hike that it whetted my appetite for coming back to it when the weather gets warmer... Back at the fork in the trail we went along Echo Canyon and all the way up to Observation Point. What a great trail!
There were slot canyon parts, ledges cut out of the cliffs, trails below huge walls, and sandy spots across long flat plateaus, and amazing views around every bend in the trail. There were even a few wildflowers out.
There was hardly anyone on the trail and even at the top there were only a couple of Italian ladies to share it with. (How come foreigners use our parks more than we do? What a shame) The view at the top was incredible looking up and down both sides of the canyon and down onto Angel's Landing. The wind had been getting stronger and stronger all day and we were up there enjoying some snacks and the view when we noticed a whole front of gray clouds blowing in behind us. We decided the very top of that cliff wasn't a good place to be... but neither was the flood path halfway down the trail... so I pulled out my trekking poles to help with my aching knees and we were back to the car just as the first drops started to fall and watched as the waterfalls started coming off the top of the canyon walls. We didn't do the second hike up Angel's Landing that day but I don't think nearly 10 miles of Zion hiking is too shabby for one day. (I'm going to leave the story behind this picture out for legal reasons... moving on...)Back at camp the celebration dinner consisted of steaks with potatoes and mushrooms with a little Martinelli's followed by birthday cake. Problem was that the only thing we forgot to bring was utensils. We brought our wooden spoons that Jake made along with one knife but spoons don't work so well for steaks (of for the noodles we had the night before for that matter)
They were delicious T-Bones...
...which we ate with our hands sitting in the dirt.
What a great way to spend a birthday weekend! (Today's my dad's birthday... I bet he wishes he could spend it in Zion too but you'll have to retire first.) I'm glad Jake invited me along.
The end.