I’ve been sewing on a Brother XR-52 machine for about six years now. Over the last few years my Brother has become increasingly ill-behaved. First, its tension control dial stopped working correctly and constant fiddling became necessary to produce even remotely normal stitches. I thought maybe a tune-up would help- it didn’t. And then about six months ago the machine became completely incorrigible. It started doing all sorts of random bizarre stitches. Being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn’t handle the thought of something I spent hours meticulously sewing falling to pieces because of my Brother’s inadequacy.
This little blanket was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After sewing it I decided that I couldn’t stand making one more thing using my obnoxious Brother.
After my most recent sewing project, a baby blanket, took much longer to complete than it should have, thanks to my naughty Brother, I decided that that was it. I needed a new sewing machine and I needed it NOW! Jason caught my hints, well more like demands, and bought me a new sewing machine for our anniversary. My new machine, a Singer Confidence 7470, is lovely. It has an electronic display, memory capabilities, 225 built-in stitches, 7 one-step buttonholes, and one-touch stitch selection. But far more important than any of these other niceties, it has automatic tension control. Yes! No more continual tension adjustments; my happiness is now complete! If only all defective brothers were as easy to replace.
My sweet new Singer- if it’s good enough for Martha, it’s good enough for me.
Jason and I hit the eight year mark this month. Yes, we’ve had eight blissful years of marriage.
Jas under Hickman Bridge in Capitol Reef.
It was my turn to plan our celebration activities this year. After looking into a bunch of options I decided on a weekend getaway to Capitol Reef National Park.
A kind man took this picture of us. We are standing above Capitol Gorge.
We stayed in the little town of Torrey, just outside Capitol Reef, at the Red River Ranch Lodge, named one of the 25 best American lodges by Travel and Leisure magazine. The lodge was built on an old stagecoach stop, which explains the giant ancient trees that surround this roughly 15 year old building. Its spacious interior is decorated almost entirely with antiques, giving the impression that you just walked into a bygone era.
Us standing outside the Lodge at Red River Ranch.
The balcony in our room overlooked a field with grazing bison, which added to the sense that somehow we had become lost in time. True to the atmosphere of the lodge, there weren’t any TVs in the rooms. While some would complain about this lack of ready entertainment, Jason and I found the change quite peaceful and relaxing.
Jas relaxing in the lodge lobby.
We spent the weekend hiking, horseback riding, reading books sprawled out under the shady aged trees in Capitol Reef’s orchards, driving over scenic Boulder Mountain, and stuffing our faces.
My horse’s name was Ruby. Jason’s was DK. He asked our guide if that stood for Donkey Kong. It didn’t.
Torrey, with a population of less than 200, isn’t exactly where you would expect to find fine cuisine, but believe me, we definitely found it. Café Diablo, located in an unassuming little building on the outskirts of Torrey, was just as good as our favorite restaurants in Salt Lake City or even San Diego. Yum! While the food at this southwest restaurant was presented flawlessly and tasted fantastic, the atmosphere was extremely relaxed. We came in straight from hiking all day in Capitol Reef, we were sweaty and sandy, but none of the restaurant staff seemed to mind at all. The owner, and I assume head chef, wandered from table to table greeting his customers while wearing his chef garb, shorts, and sandals.
This was what Jason ordered: trout encrusted with pumpkin seeds in a lime cilantro sauce. It was so good!
We ordered everything from spicy appetizers to desserts topped with their freshly made ice cream, and ate until we could eat no more. It was an unexpectedly delicious and refreshing experience.
We watched the sun go down at Sunset Point in Capitol Reef one evening. It was beautiful!
Another restaurant we sampled, which was also very tasty, was Hell’s Backbone Grill located in Boulder, 30 miles from Torrey. This charmingly serene little restaurant specializes in cuisine that utilizes locally grown produce. They have their own organic farm just three miles from the restaurant. Jason ordered chicken tumbleweed enchiladas; that may sound like something you would feed a cow rather than a person but it was actually quite flavorful and scrumptious.
Jas was eager to make a fool out of himself by posing as a crazy cave creature for this picture.
We enjoyed our little weekend excursion: lots of sun, beautiful scenery, and surprisingly good food.
Jason convinced me to also act like a derranged rock creature.
Keane came to town on Tuesday. Since they are on my fav bands short list and I’ve never seen them live, I decided that I had to go, which meant that Jason also had to go. I’m glad I felt compelled to attend this concert because it turned out to be awesomely fantastic!
We were only 11 rows from the front. Sweet!
The opener was Mat Kearney. Excellent! Love his voice! I’m going to have to buy his CDs now.
Keane was awesome!
Keane was also marvelous! Their lead singer, Tom Chaplin, really put it out there. He definitely had the magnetic personality you would expect from a fronting man. But besides just being flamboyant, he was also remarkably poignant. His heartfelt performance of Try Again almost put me in tears. And yes, I know what you are thinking: she who cries during the Pokémon movie is not a good indicator of the emotional response of the average person. So maybe there weren’t a lot of other people in the crowd tearing up but I obviously wasn’t the only one moved. The masses took to chanting “Keane, Keane, Keane, Keane…” at random times during the performance. And despite the presence of seats, everyone remained standing during the entire show- except for the lame couple sitting in front of me that also plugged their ears every time the audience clapped.
Keane's lead singer Tom Chaplin
Fantastic bands, a lively crowd- a great show!
I have been an avid Star Trek fanatic since I got hooked on The Next Generation series as a teenager. Yes, nerdery took root in me at a young age. I am not ashamed to say that I had a huge crush on Data the android through my teen years. While other girls my age salivated over Tom Cruise, Luke Perry, or the rockers in Guns N’ Roses- I dreamed of Data.
Our geeky group
Being the diehard Trekkie that I am, I was super stoked when I heard that a new Star Trek movie was coming out. I wanted to make watching this movie a memorable event. So I plotted with my friend Cameron and together we amassed a group of 20 friends to witness this spectacular show together. Thanks Cam again for being in charge of ticket purchasing!
I just can't resist a man in uniform. Resistance is futile?
The unabashed geeks in our group wore Starfleet uniforms to the showing. I would have proudly been among them but unfortunately, due to the high volume of Trekkies with the same idea, I was unable to purchase such attire. All the sites online were sold out. So I settled for a t-shirt that says “I heart Data”.
Fran gave Jason's uniform a try. Living long and prospering must be hard to do.
The movie was fantastic of course- action packed, well written, and funny. It paid homage to the original series without being predictable. The casting was impeccably done and the special effects were breathtaking. I plan on catching it again in the next couple weeks- this time at an IMAX.
Swine Flu: everyone is talking about it, even those that don’t have a clue what they are talking about. Although I am no CDC expert, I did take enough microbiology classes in college to understand the basics of what’s going on. Plus, I have a brain, which, apparently, some people are lacking. So I’m going to give my two-cent synopsis and solution to this whole piggy mess. Not because there isn’t a plethora of information out there, but mostly because I like to hear myself talk, or type rather.
Influenza (A.K.A. flu) is a respiratory infection. Swine Flu is caused by an influenza virus that is typically only transferred from pig to pig. Occasionally you’ll have a freak strain that somehow passes from pigs to people in close proximity to the pigs, but even if a person catches this flu from his porcine friends, he usually can’t pass it on to other people. However, the particular virus strain that is causing all this hoo-ha has figured out a way to pass itself from person to person. That’s what makes it so special, and scary.
Here's Jas once again illustrating my post with a crazy picture.
Now, before any of you barricade yourselves inside your houses and start sporting layers of facemasks, let’s gain a little perspective. Although the swine flu has proved fatal for some unfortunate victims, did you know that the regular boring seasonal flu that comes around every winter kills over 3,000 people in the U.S. and about 300,000 people worldwide each year? And the Swine Flu has killed what, like 20? Yet you don’t see any school districts closing down during flu season. Hmmm…makes you wonder.
So why all the fear and panic? Swine Flu, I mean Influenza H1N1 for the benefit of the pork producers out there, is the new pandemic hotness! It’s new, it’s sensational, it’s exotic, and it represents uncertainty. People will always fear the unknown.
It’s pretty much the West Nile Virus scenario all over again. What? You don’t even remember what the West Nile Virus is? That’s because West Nile is a has-been virus. Oh, it’s still out there killing people. Last year it killed 44 people in the U.S. and the year before it caused the deceasement (Yes, I just made up that word. Do you like it?) of over a hundred Americans. Although West Nile is still up to its usual tricks of inflaming brains and spinal cords, no one seems to be interested in it anymore. Poor West Nile! It’s like one of those boy bands that are famous for about half a second and have hordes of thirteen year old girls drooling all over them but then quickly become all but forgotten until VH1 features them on a Where are They Now? special. Yup, West Nile is pretty much the NSYNC of viruses.
Okay, so now that we have established that Swine Flu is serious, but no more so than the standard run-of-the-mill flu, and will probably not hold our extremely limited attention span for long, we can all take a deep breath. Ahhh!!! Doesn’t that feel better?
If panicking isn’t the most reasonable and helpful thing to do in light of this recent outbreak, what should we be doing?
It’s very simple, and it’s the same thing that you should be doing even when there isn’t a deadly mutant virus on the loose: wash your hands regularly! The flu is often spread by people touching their mouth, eyes, or nose after contacting something contaminated with the virus; that “something” could be a hand, a doorknob…whatever.
By the way, you people that “wash your hands” by just running your hands briefly under the tap, and you know who you are, you don’t kill, or wash off, anything by doing that. Nothing! In order to actually remove microbes you need to scrub your hands for at least twenty seconds with both soap and water. Sud those babies up! And “regularly” washing hands doesn’t mean every third day, or even every other day. It means after using the bathroom, before eating, before preparing food, after petting animals, after shaking someone’s hand…etc., etc., etc.
So there you have it, my simple solution. The CDC must have stolen my simple solution idea because they have that whole washing your hands thing on their website too. Go figure.
Incidentally, eating properly cooked pork is NOT going to give you the Swine Flu…duh Egypt. I wonder if all of their scientists bought their degrees online.
So wash your hands people! Eat your hot dogs! And wear mosquito repellant-the West Nile Virus would like a little attention now and then.
*At least 50% of the information in this post is guaranteed to be 100% accurate.