Monthly Archives: February 2012

23 Feb

The Value of Valentine’s

Posted by on February 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

No holiday is greeted with as much animosity as Valentine’s Day. Sure, there are those that resent the “commercialization” of Christmas or having to eat Aunt Sally’s grey mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving but Valentine’s Day gets the worst beating of all.

First, you have the ladies that reject this holiday on the grounds that it’s a bitter reminder of their current lack of a meaningful relationship. Then you’ve got the husbands that grumble about having to buy flowers for their wives. And don’t forget the women that protest the occasion because of the improper amount of pampering they receive from their significant other. Geez! Doesn’t anyone enjoy Cupid’s day? Oh yeah, I do!

I love spoiling Jason in general so it makes sense that I would enjoy a day that gives me an excuse to do so with excessive gusto.

I wore a new darling dress to Meditrina. Every girl needs an excuse now and then to put on a fancy frock.

This year I took several rounds of surprise treats to Jason’s work, including caramel apples and my favorite cookies from a local bakery, just to get the fuss started. Additionally, since it was my turn to plan our activities, I organized a group dinner at Meditrina, an enchanting tapas bar, with 5 other couples a few days before the big day. I would be lying if I said that arranging this outing was hassle-free. Too many people with differing opinions and way too much griping were involved so I don’t think I’ll be planning anything like that again with such a large group. Despite the pointless hang-ups, I did appreciate the company for the most part and my tummy definitely appreciated the tasty cuisine. So I guess the evening was mainly a success.

Our friend Jenny arranged these flowers. Great job! She recently opened her own floral design business.

Speaking of food, that wasn’t the end of the festive gourmet grub for us. Jason and I also had a romantic fondue dinner at home on Valentine’s Day made by yours truly. Cave aged Swiss cheese and velvety Irish cream spiked chocolate were the perfect ingredients for a charming evening, especially when buy generic furosemide paired with the company of a man I absolutely adore. I would happily do a repeat of that night anytime!

This may not look too impressive as far as meals go but it was just course one. Trust me, we were stuffed to the point of sickness by the time we finished our supper.

Our Valentine’s Day celebrations were again a delight and, as always, a little over the top. Like I said, I love to spoil Jason and, as far as I’m concerned, he deserves more pampering than I could ever bestow.

You can't have a romantic dinner without rose petals, candlelight, and Joshua Bell.

As a final note, in true obstinate fashion, I feel the need to once more complain about the rampant negativity directed towards Valentine’s Day. I know many of you think that all this romantic goo may be fine for those of us that are happily hooked up but that the holiday’s a waste for the single. To you I say, not so. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love so why does that just have to mean romantic love? Love takes many forms: the bond between brothers, the adulation of a child, the concern of a friend. I think nearly all of us are surrounded by plenty of people that matter in our lives. Why not take the opportunity afforded by this holiday to remind them that they are important to us? A card for a friend telling them what a difference their friendship has made, an unexpected bouquet of flowers for a mother or grandmother, some quality time spent decorating cookies with a child: there are lots of ways to get caught up in the spirit of this holiday that don’t involve giving a 5 ft teddy bear to your girlfriend. I always enjoyed Valentine’s Day even before I had someone to bring me flowers or make dinner for. Celebrating love and expressing gratitude to those that are essential to us shouldn’t induce whining. It doesn’t hurt to have a significant other on Valentine’s Day but we all have people that matter significantly in our lives and isn’t that worth some rejoicing?

15 Feb

The Just Us League

Posted by on February 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Once you have jumped into a freezing lake your perspective on everything changes. The world suddenly seems warmer and you feel like you could do just about anything, almost as if you had superpowers.

Justice has a new face and it's an ugly one.

After double-dipping into ice sheathed waters last winter we decided to again support the Special Olympics by plunging into Utah Lake this year and we convinced an even bigger circle of family and friends to join us. Our nine man brigade opted to go all out, and all ridiculous, in the costume department. Since leaping into 33 degree water is a stunt only the super dumb or the superhero would attempt it seemed fitting for us to dress as both.

It took a bit of super strength to stare those frigid waters down and jump in.

We, or I rather, named our team the Just Us League like the Justice League only it’s just us. Don’t get the joke? Obviously you have no sense of Rachel humor.

Although last year we had to swim farther to get back to shore, the distance this time still seemed infinitely long.

We all picked a superhero to emulate. Jason selected Captain America and I chose to go as Supergirl. Supergirl’s blonde hair was the primary reason for that decision; a wig doesn’t work when you’re diving into a lake. I made me a cape and some arm bracers embellished with silly gold rickrack reminiscent of the tacky uniforms worn in the original Star Trek TV series. Though my costume looked rather absurd, I was definitely outgunned by some of the outrageous boys on our team. Jason, Jeremy, and Adam all wore Speedos. Need I say more? Icky! With their masks and accessories Jason and Jeremy looked like extremely low-budget adult film stars.

Jeremy was revolting in his mankini. Superheroes are supposed to save the world not repulse it.

Our team may have been flashy and flamboyant in our costuming but we were even flashier in our fundraising. We raised about $1200 for the Special Olympics. That placed us as one of the top three grossing teams…and gross we were.

Our massive group had to be split in two; we were too bulky to jump in at once. This, our second set of plungers, did us proud.

The largeness of our group and coolness of our costumes compounded to make for one fantastic plunge. Although our presently milder than normal winter didn’t help the temperature of the lake much, with our super attire and courageous entourage we were ready to face any frigid foe. We took on that chilly villain and we took it down! Just us was served!

9 Feb

The R.A.C.

Posted by on February 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Last September, as we and a few of our friends were discussing some group training runs that we had done to prepare for a relay race, the idea was tossed around of starting a runners club that would meet once a week for a communal dash. The conversation ended with all of us deciding to give it a go. Jason and I ran anyway so why not smack the asphalt with some buddies?

We collectively elected to operate our club with homogeny of responsibility a.k.a. we would take turns “hosting” our runs. The job of choosing locations and arranging our gatherings would alternate between members each week.

Every week Jason insists on taking a picture of our run. This has proven good advertising and has escalated attendance and anticipation.

I offered to create a Facebook group page for us so we would have a means of communicating with each other easily about our meetings. I also took it upon myself, because no one else offered any creative assistance, to name our organization. I decided to call us the R.A.C., an acronym for The Run Around Club. Utterly brilliant, right? Even more brilliant is the hidden joke in that name. For the greater part of my life my family and friends have referred to me as Rac so I kind of named this club after myself. What an ingenious egomaniac I am!

Jason and I offered to plan the R.A.C.’s inaugural run. Only 4 people showed up for that historic sprint but it was enough to get the movement going. I guess I shouldn’t have set everything up and taken all that initial initiative though. Everyone else acclimated very quickly, virtually instantly, to not having to be involved in the scheduling and location selecting. After multiple members shrugged off taking their turn at planning, Jason and I somehow became the “hosts” of every week from now until forever. Alas, why must I be so organized and responsible…and bossy? It almost always comes back to bite me. Jason and I now do pretty much all the coordinating, communicating, strategizing, energizing, and fraternizing for the R.A.C.

Stretching your upper thighs is very important before running, especially when striving to look ridiculous.

Whether due to the perseverance of our group’s great leaders, which I am gratuitously patting myself on the back for, or to the determination of our members, our club has been a huge success. Attendance at the R.A.C. has steadily increased since its inception. In the first month or two we never had more then 4 or 5 runners at each of our meetings but now we usually have about 7. We jogged outside in the fall until the sun set too prematurely to permit this and then we switched to a combo of outdoor Saturday and indoor evening runs. We’ve dashed over all manner of trail and track as we’ve diligently hit the pavement every week. The R.A.C. has only defaulted once and that was while Jason and I were away on vacation and therefore unable to bestow order to the entire universe.

The R.A.C. has proven itself remarkable. It motivates people to be more active than they ever thought they could be persuaded to be and it transforms what some would consider to be a miserable pursuit into a thrilling social experience. As we scuttle along we chat, race each other, and forget that we are actually exercising. The peer pressure and competitive challenge do wonders too I might add. Jason’s the superhero among us and he inspires us, or shames us, into picking up our pace a little. Seeing some club members try to outrun him makes me giggle a bit but keep it up boys.

Jeremy must not have gotten the "jumping" memo. His confused feet were firmly on the ground while the rest of ours were soaring.

I look forward to seeing my friends accomplish that which they didn’t think was possible as the R.A.C. continues to grow and outpace itself. Many of our members have already set lofty goals for themselves to push their progress along. Excellent! Long may the R.A.C. continue to flatten the flabby and firm the infirmed while entertaining all!

2 Feb

Escape to Powder Mountain

Posted by on February 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

For years Jason and I have harbored fantasies of taking a boarding trip with a group of our powder junkie buddies: staying close to a fabulous resort, boarding until we are exhausted, coming back to our lodgings and jumping in a hot tub to relax our overly-used limbs. Doesn’t that sound exquisite? Well, last weekend all that we desired came to pass.

After Jacob pooped out, I rode with these three rascals. I did a decent job keeping up with them. Yeah me!

Jason and I invited a few of our friends, namely Adam, Jacob, and Jeremy, to spend the weekend with us at one of our timeshares located only ten minutes from Powder Mountain, a ski resort we had never ridden but had heard great things about. Our outing plans basically revolved around boards of various types: snowboards and game boards. Once our “boarding weekend” was cleverly named to reflect its clever design its ultimate success was assured.

The snow at Powder Mountain was surprisingly nice considering none of it was new and the sunshine was in no short supply.

Originally Abigail, Adam’s wife, was also going to join us but a sick kiddie put a stop to that. So I was stuck with four boys for the weekend and all I can say is that boys are messy. In regards to leaving dirty dishes and half eaten cookies around I think they were worse than children. I felt like I was forced into the role of den mother a bit but nothing makes a man feel at home like perpetual nagging. Right boys?

Lift rides provide ample opportunity for chatting and freezing.

We started the weekend off Friday night by watching a big mountain boarding flick, The Art of FLIGHT, and playing a few board games. Then we woke on Saturday morning all stoked to hit the peaks.

For some stupid reason we all decided to do "sexy snowboarder" poses at the top of the lift. Jeremy's was not suitable for children, or for anyone else with eyes really. Jason's just looked goofy.

My "hot" pose could be described by many adjectives but "hot" is not likely to be one of them.

I have to say that I was generally impressed with Powder Mountain. Even though we went on a Saturday this enormous resort wasn’t crowded at all; with runs up to 4 miles long I guess it’s easy to spread riders out. So no complaints from me…though Jacob may have a few. He hadn’t boarded in years and his reintroduction to the sport wasn’t as glamorous as he had envisioned it. He seemed to be surprised by the frequency of his falling; I wasn’t. (Jacob, you expected me to make fun of you so I’d hate to disappoint.)

Jacob actually looked normal in his "alluring" photo. How did he manage that when the rest of us appeared ridiculous?

Our boarding posse groped the slopes until the sun started going down and took the temperatures with it. Then it was hot tub time baby! We thawed out in the timeshare’s hot tub and dry sauna, and then, when male collective brain dysfunction syndrome kicked in, we had a snowball fight with painfully crystallized snow, while in our wet swimming attire, before beginning the warming process all over again. Boys are dumb but they can be fun.

Four topless boys hanging in a tub, cuddling with each other while their bubbles go "glub."

I quite enjoyed my boarding weekend. I think it might be something we repeat in the future but I hope next time a few ladies will join us so I don’t have to be the only voice of reason or cleanliness’ lone sentinel.