Monthly Archives: January 2011

27 Jan

Pop Pop Power!

Posted by on January 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Jason bought me a new snowboard for Christmas, a Roxy Ollie Pop C2 BTX that I named Pop Pop. Although I was very eager to try out my new toy, and a few post-Christmas storms left powder aplenty on the slopes, persistent subzero temperatures and woeful tales of skiers getting frostbite on their faces and extremities quenched my boarding cravings.

Isn't my new board cool? Okay, so you can't exactly see it. No big deal. That cheesy grin on my face is evidence of its coolness.

Finally, after weeks of downright miserable weather, Mother Nature cooperated with my boarding itch. The storm that came through here last weekend dropped about 8 inches of snow up at Brighton and then quickly dissipated leaving blue skies and pleasant temperatures. That was all the invitation Jason and I needed to overrun the mountain.

Jadon was a moody skier but he did seem to enjoy himself between bouts of poutiness.

My brother Drew met us up at Brighton with his wife Simone and their six year old Jadon. They spent most of the day on the bunny hill because Jadon and Drew were both trying to figure out the mechanics of skiing; we humbly stooped to hang out with them for a bit there amongst the hordes of tumbling learners. Drew has boarded a handful of times but he decided to turn traitor and give skiing a try. He didn’t look very comfortable on skis yet he claims that he liked skiing better than boarding. How is that possible? Boarding is the r0x’r! I guess not everyone has my excellent taste.

Jadon could do a decent plow but he often refused to go downhill unless someone was holding his hand-not the easiest task for a person on a board. Luckily, Jason could manage this awkward maneuver just fine with his crazy boarding skills.

So how did my Pop Pop do? My new board is a really smooth ride and carves beautifully. It took some getting used to though, especially since Jason also bought me new boots and bindings. Thanks to all my new gear my morning was a little rough, with some unnecessary falling, but after I got a feel for my new board buddy I really enjoyed myself. I can tell that Pop Pop and I are going to get along fabulously.

19 Jan

The Goose Girl

Posted by on January 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I just finished a great set of novels, known as the Books of Bayern, by Shannon Hale. (They are also called the Goose Girl series but that makes them sound like children’s books, which they are not.) My sister recommended that I read this four book set and I’m glad I did.

Forest Born: the last book in the series

Although these novels were written with the girly teenage masses in mind they lack the melodramatic adolescent angst you often find in other novels meant for this age group; instead of petty drama you will find enough action, romance, and magic to entertain just about any audience. These great coming of age stories are packed with superhuman powers, epic battles, unrequited love, requited love, dark secrets, assassination attempts, and mistaken identities. The first and last books of the series were probably my favorite, and the second one my least, but they all had their merits. I would recommend these fun and light reads to anyone that wants to get sucked into a fantastical world where armies get burned alive, revenge is elaborately weaved, and attractive young women dish out punishment like it was the Groupon deal of the day.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

13 Jan

Midway and the Great Mobile Hunt

Posted by on January 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Have you ever had to search through miles of powdery snow for a lost $400 iPhone that could have fallen anywhere? No? Then I guess you haven’t truly lived. I can now say that I have. Here’s my tale of how our fun weekend turned into a phone search.

January is not my favorite month. It doesn’t have the pleasant weather appeal or holiday enticements that make other months popular; it doesn’t even carry in it the hope of spring like February does. So Jason and I decided that our January needed a little pick-me-up. We therefore made a weekend getaway to Midway with my brother and his family to enjoy the only things splendid about this month: snow and after-Christmas sales.

Isabelle, who only figured out that whole walking thing recently, didn't even try to move with all her snow clothes on. She would just stand there looking awkward until someone picked her up.

Jadon was excited to have a snowball fight even though the snow was too powdery to really form into balls.

Jason gripped me tight in fear at the mere thought of descending the tubing hill...okay, maybe not.

We started our snow fabulous weekend by tubing at Soldier Hollow. Since the tubing hill wasn’t crowded due to all those that savor sleeping in on Saturdays not being conscious yet, which usually includes me, we were allowed to hook all of our tubes together in one giant mass. Jadon, my brother’s five year old, loved it and wanted our cluster to make choo-choo noises as we cruised down the mountain.

After we spent the morning tubing we went to Park City for some serious shopping at the outlet stores. The frigid temps didn’t stop us from going store to store in search of awesome deals. We definitely found some. My favorite thing about shopping that afternoon was getting Jadon to help me pick out jewelry. He took offering his assistance very seriously and conscientiously evaluated all the available pieces before giving me his recommendation. It was very cute and quite humorous.

The setting for Final Fantasy XXXVI? It's quite possible.

Streams of frozen water, glassy teeth of ice, playing in an ice castle is rather nice.

As we toured the castles snowflakes were a falling. It added to the wintery wonder of it all.

That evening, after shopping, we walked through the famous Midway ice castles. I must admit that before this trip I didn’t know that such “famous” structures existed but apparently every year a guy from Midway makes these giant ice sculptures and keeps building them higher and higher through the winter until they are simply monstrous. They were pretty impressive and I guess they deserve their claim to fame since they attract about 40,000 visitors each year. If you feel inclined to view them I would recommend going after dark; all those illuminated icicles look mesmerizing and surreal etched out of a blackened sky. But don’t be surprised if the setting fills you with the desire to sport a furry loincloth or a sword of smiting, such props would seem commonplace among these frosty edifices.

This was taken at the top of the Timp View trail: wisps of clouds, a sprinkling of falling snow, and heaps of powder. Breathtaking!

Jason the subjugator vanquishes the Timp View trail.

The following morning Jason and I were back at Soldier Hollow for some snowshoeing with Jason’s parents. This is when our phone troubles really began. We decided to climb a trail called Timp View; this path was marked as “most difficult” and it seemed to go up and up endlessly but the views just kept getting better as we crested one hill after another. It was beautiful and we even got to make first tracks since no one had trekked through the upper regions of the trail after it had snowed the night before. It was a refreshing experience and we got back to our cars feeling tired, content, and cold. That’s when Jason realized he was missing his cell phone. Ugh! Although he claimed that he had zipped all of his pockets up, he last remembered having his phone before we started our ascent up the trail, which meant it could be anywhere in the miles of snow we had crossed. With fresh powder everywhere, which a flung phone would just snuggle right down into, we both had very little hope of finding that allusive electronic but we thought we better at least give it a try. So we started backtracking up our path and I began calling his phone in hopes that we would hear it ring if we passed it. This plan only had a shot at working if his phone was set to ring not just vibrate, which was another detail that Jason couldn’t recall. Blast! Trying to dial his number, which required glovelessness, while trudging through snow proved too awkward and freezing so I headed back to the car to concentrate on my calling efforts while Jason continued to cruise back up our route. On my 22nd call he answered. He had miraculously found his phone near the top of the trail. He would have passed right by it, since it was indeed buried in the snow, but he heard it ring and dug around until he uncovered it. Yes! All that teamwork paid off. Everyone was shocked that we were actually able to locate the phone, including the workers in the lodge that had told us it was a lost cause when we had reported it missing. What can I say; the Rachel and Jason team is a pretty darn good one.

So that is how our fantastic Midway weekend turned into a seemingly futile mobile search and then ended happily ever after after all.

5 Jan

The Polar Bear Plunge

Posted by on January 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I am now famous, very famous. How did I accomplish this meteoric rise to stardom? I will have to backtrack about a year to give you the full story on how it all started.

Last December, during the course of casual conversation, it was discovered that Jason’s brother Jeremy and our friend Lauren both had aspirations of participating in a polar plunge. For those of you not familiar with the concept of a polar plunge it basically entails jumping into a nearly frozen body of water in the middle of winter sometimes to benefit a charity and sometimes just to say you did. Because Jeremy and Lauren were both interested in plunging, and Jason seemed hip on the idea as well, it was decided that they should all plunge together. I had never before considered participating in such a chilly activity so I only halfheartedly agreed to maybe do it with them.

This is the frosty pond we jumped in. It was a bit shallow in places but it fit the freezing bill just fine.

Lauren found an upcoming local plunge that they could all freeze themselves in, an annual event, known as the Polar Bear Plunge, taking place at noon on New Year’s Day at a pond in Springville. The boys talked big but when it came time to commit they faltered. Lauren, who is obviously tougher than those weaklings, ended up doing it without them.

Before plunge = bundled up, dry, NOT toasty. After plunge = I don't even want to go there.

Although I had been wishy-washy about participating in the plunge last year, this year, after some contemplation, I was ready to jump in-metaphorically and literally. Since Lauren had enjoyed this event so much last year she wanted to do it again and I told her that with or without my husband I was in. Jason, perceiving that the gauntlet had been thrown to him, reluctantly decided to be a participant as well. We also found another friend, Jacob, with enough guts or stupidity to join us.

I love how ridiculous Jason looks in this picture.

I must admit that even though I was bound and determined to do the plunge I was a little apprehensive about it. A super cold front settled over Utah a few days before the event and temperatures were only predicted to reach a high of about 17 degrees Fahrenheit on New Year’s Day; this did not help to ease my anxiety. I got myself pretty worked up about it all and the night before the event I had dreams that resembled the last scene in Titanic, minus the door.

This is the picture of me that ended up in the paper. It was taken by Laura Seitz of the Deseret News.

The plunge turned out to be a lot less miserable and much more enjoyable than I had envisioned but we did encounter a few unexpected hurdles. We jumpers were mistakenly given a premature countdown so after we all had hurried and stripped down to our swimsuits we had to wait around for a few more minutes in the 12 degree winter air for the real countdown to begin. Brrr! But even though we were standing on the snowy banks of a frigid pond wearing practically nothing but our skimpies we were all smiling and joking around. It’s hard not to smile when you are doing something so ridiculous even if you can’t feel your feet.

This photo (also taken by Laura Seitz) of a random plunger looks pretty awesome. That's why I added it to my post even though I have no idea who the guy is.

When we finally did get the go-ahead to jump into the water Jacob rashly bolted in right on top of some ice and then bolted out again so quickly the rest of us hadn’t even had a chance to get wet yet. His rapid descent into ice infested waters resulted in a number of painful looking cuts on one of his calves. But on the upside, he was too frozen to feel the hurt and didn’t even notice that he was bleeding for a while. Jason, unlike Jacob, took his sweet time getting into the water and then refused to get wet above his bellybutton; that was the limit of his courage. He says it was the coldest water he has ever felt in his life. Lauren and I vowed to be braver than my hubby and we took a big dip simultaneously. I made it up to my shoulders while Lauren was bolder and covered all but the top of her head with the glacial waters.

Jacob emerged with a huge wad of pond scum stuck in his crack. Yuck!

I anticipated that emerging sopping wet from the pond into the below freezing air would be the worst part of the experience but it actually wasn’t too bad. There was a pleasant fire in a pit near the water’s shore that helped chase the chills away. My toes had the hardest time warming back up; they were painfully frozen for at least half an hour after the plunge. When Jason and I got home we both hopped right into hot showers. It was then that we realized just how cold we actually were; our skin itched and burned as it returned to normal temperatures.

So what does my newfound fame have to do with the experience I just relayed? The plunge was covered by newspapers and, unknown to me at the time, the local news. Although I would estimate that there were probably about 20-30 people at the plunge, a clip of me and Lauren dipping ended up on the nightly news. Additionally, a close-up of me was found in the newspaper the next day. Yup, I’m famous. Don’t be jealous just because you aren’t a masochistic celebrity like me.