Monthly Archives: February 2014


27 Feb

Donuts and Dinner

Posted by on February 27, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Perhaps it is my romantic notions or my perfectionist tendencies, my adoration for Jason or my longing for adventure but, whatever the culprit, I do not believe in taking Valentine’s Day lightly. I insist on making the most of that lovey-dovey holiday every year with a combination of the traditional and the abnormal.

This time it was my turn to plan V-Day for Jason and me but, although that arranging took some energy, it didn’t mean I was letting myself off the hook from my regular spoiling. In addition to the large cookie bouquet I sent Jason, I had an endless barrage of homemade sugaring plotted for my fine spouse.

I made these truffles from scratch. They were uber rich and beyond sweet but quite tasty.

I made these truffles from scratch. They were uber rich and beyond sweet but quite tasty.

I began my sweet culinary rampage by making red velvet pancakes with maple buttermilk icing for our V-Day brunch. As soon as Jason had gobbled nearly a dozen of those flat treats and left to return to work, I began forming chocolate truffles. A couple of hours later I delivered those to my surprised hubby and his eager coworkers. Sugar coma accomplished: cooking completed for the day.

I forgot to bring my tripod on our snowshoeing outing but I improvised with a backpack and some cave dirt.

I forgot to bring my tripod on our snowshoeing outing but I improvised with a backpack and some cave dirt.

The following day, a Saturday, I had arranged for some aerobic togetherness with a snowshoeing outing up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Donut Falls. I am ever ready to explore the unknown and was keen to give this trail a try; I was not alone in that sentiment. We often met other groups along this path but, with lounging mountains your habitat, one need never feel cramped.

The great outdoors are no less great when they are masked with snow.

The great outdoors are no less great when they are masked with snow.

The falls themselves are located in a cave with a relatively small opening. When you crawl in you are immediately rewarded by a shimmering cascade tumbling through a circular hole in the cavern’s roof. It’s as picturesque as it sounds, plus clambering into a slot in the ground generates a few of those exploratory kicks that all adventurers seek.

Although dinner was served a little closer to midnight than I'd anticipated, it was worth the wait.

Although dinner was served a little closer to midnight than I’d anticipated, it was worth the wait.

After our outdoor excursion, I concluded our celebratory festivities with a candlelight dinner of cheddar-bacon wedge salad, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, bacon-wrapped filet mignon and sticky cherry cake. Although, due to time constraints, Jason ended up assisting me some with this meal, which was not my plan, we had a great time preparing and eating together.

Valentine’s Day is not a vexation to me, as it seems to be to many. True, it involves some scheming and effort but I welcome that plotting with a mischievous mind and a willing heart. Jason is the best and dearest sort of husband; getting to pamper him on Valentine’s Day is a privilege and getting to spend time with him on that fine holiday while pursuing entertaining activities is the delicious icing on that syrupy-sweet cake. Long may the mushy sentiments and soppy customs of Valentine’s Day reign!

20 Feb

Regency Romance

Posted by on February 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm

You don’t need a TARDIS to travel into the past, you just need a few ringlets or an uncommonly-undersized waistcoat.

I made both of these costumes and have made others like them. One never knows when a whole wardrobe of Austen might be required to procure enjoyment.

I made both of these costumes and have sewn others like them. One never knows when a whole wardrobe of Austen might be required to procure enjoyment.

Last week we, once again, attended the Regency Romance Ball in Salt Lake City. This Jane Austen-themed event was, as expected, full of forgotten manners and spirited dances. We were joined this year by four other couples of our acquaintance, making a highly agreeable assemblage.

Our group was well dressed but not well behaved.

Our group was well dressed but not well behaved.

A proper lady can’t wear the same ensemble two days or two successive balls in a row. Therefore, despite my lack of lacking appropriate attire, I made a new dress with a matching reticule for this affair. I also added to the Regency wardrobe of my stylish gentleman by stitching him some authentic breeches. I assure you, that measure was self-serving in nature as any work put into Jason’s apparel for this occasion was well rewarded through the very great pleasure afforded by his historical hotness. But, apart from that, our costumes also procured us the prestigious, yet not that prestigious, position of 2nd place in both the women’s and men’s contests and also in the couple’s. How do you win 2nd place three times in one night and not 1st ever? I suppose it takes a particular type of talent to nearly succeed repeatedly while still consistently remaining a loser.

Our men flaunted outdated fashions with grandiosity and absurdity.

Our men flaunted outdated fashions with grandiosity and absurdity.

We ladies were elegantly attired in gowns that even Miss Woodhouse would have deemed acceptable.

We ladies were elegantly attired in gowns that even Miss Woodhouse would have deemed acceptable.

Jason and I delightfully danced the night away while our companions selectively dabbled on the dance floor. Few women, and none of good breeding, would complain about the prospect of being twirled around a ballroom by their very own Pemberley squire. I would certainly not be among them.

11 Feb

A Toothful Tale

Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

If you are like the average person, you probably think about your teeth roughly four minutes a day at most…unless you are the unfortunate victim of a toothache, in which case you may find it difficult to think about anything else. Yes, most of us only give our chompers a passing thought in the morning and evening as we do our ritual brushing until something goes horribly wrong…or even a little wrong. Teeth, like that grouchy old man next door, are easily irritated. Recently I’ve had some ill-fated misfortunes in the molar department. Since February is a time for gushing tales of star-crossed lovers, in that celebrated tradition I humbly present to you this riveting story of my star-crossed teeth.

On New Year’s Eve I noticed that one side of my mouth seemed unusually sensitive but I didn’t give it much thought. (I suffer from a wanton disregard of pain.) However, later that evening, when Jason and I got home from our revelries, we decided to have a little snack and a few nibbles into that pizza my mouth got mean beyond even my ability to ignore. It suddenly hurt to bite on my left side, which started throbbing. I noticed, upon tongue probing, that there was a jagged spot on one of my molars. It felt like a crack. Oh hateful fate!

I nearly swallowed this chunk of faux-enamel.

I nearly swallowed this chunk of faux-enamel.

Seeing as it was New Year’s, there seemed to be little I could do to remedy the situation immediately but the day following the holiday I called my dentist. Of course, as luck would have it, he was out of town and wouldn’t be able to see me for almost a week. That delay didn’t seem too grievous. So what if I had to bite on one side for a few days or so. No biggie. Until…

That evening I was chewing some gum, only on my good side of course, and I must have just barely brushed the questionable part of my maw with it because all of a sudden I found myself chewing on a large chunk of tooth. When you’ve just spit out a big piece of molar and you have no idea what pain’s got in store for you and no help is imminent, panicking is advisable. (Ninety-five percent of those polled agree.) That’s exactly what I did. A restless night followed as visions of unmentionable toothache terrors filled my anxious head.

Biting on my troubled side had already been out of the question but I now found that drinking was also a big problem. Anything liquid coming into contact with the exposed area of my mouth made my nerves light up like a Christmas tree from hell. So I resorted to drinking gracelessly through a straw crammed in my good cheek. Yes, it was as awkward and inefficient as it sounds. Hence, I was perpetually thirsty and probably perpetually ornery. Within a few days, I realized that I could drink without a straw by holding incoming liquids on the roof of my mouth with my tongue, shepherding them away from my problem spot. As excited as I was about this breakthrough, my newfound method of drinking proved only slightly less annoying than my sucky one.

Drinking lopsidedly through a straw was neither convenient nor dignified but, in the interest of pain prevention, it was necessary.

Drinking lopsidedly through a straw was neither convenient nor dignified but, in the interest of pain prevention, it was necessary.

When my big day with the dentist came, as suspected, he told me that a crown had broken but that the tooth underneath looked perfect. He didn’t have time to put a new crown on right then but he didn’t seem too concerned with the situation. He rubbed some sort of desensitizing agent on my tooth and told me that I could bite on that side and drink like normal until my next appointment in another week. Sounded pretty good…in theory.

I had confidence in my dentist’s judgment and faithfully tried chewing on my broken side after that first meeting but, surprisingly, it still hurt like the dickens to do so and I soon had to abort the notion. Drinking was slightly better than before with the desensitizer but not much. I wondered why the dentist’s estimations were so far from my reality. The engrossing answers to these perplexities were all revealed at my next appointment. Read on fair readers, read on.

When I went in the following week to get my broken crown removed and a temporary one put in its place, and had a whole herd of hands in my mouth, I noticed that the dentist got a surprised look on his face at one point and asked one of his assistants for some sort of something in a hurry. I didn’t know what it was all about but it didn’t seem like it could be good.

It turns out that the tooth underneath my shattered crown was cracked. When the dentist removed the broken porcelain, this became apparent. After being bonded to fix that crack, temporarily crowned and then permanently covered, my molar is now back in action. It took five weeks in total for this all to happen and yes, there was a lot of agony involved in those procedures so ouch, ouch, ouch for the record.

For the curious or the likewise injured: pain when biting and sensitivity to liquids are both symptoms of a cracked tooth. Yes, the grand plan of the creator completely makes sense now. X-rays may not show a tooth crack incidentally, which was true in my case. Cracks can cause any crowns that cover them to fracture but crowns don’t need any help in failing apparently; they break on average every five to fifteen years. If one lasts a decade then the dentist can pat himself on the back for a job well done. I guess that means I can look forward to repeating this woeful experience at least a few more times in my life. Is there no relief for the star-crossed?

5 Feb

A Board Weekend

Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm

It has become a January tradition over the last few years for us to spend a weekend at a condo near Powder Mountain Resort and hit those slopes with a group of friends. Last year a delicious but inconvenient storm turned our chosen weekend into a slippery and wonderful frolic. This year…the less said on the subject of snow quality the better. No new snow didn’t mean a no go for us though and we had a fantastic time despite this winter’s precipitation abnormalities.

I practiced some wall hits on the slopes of Bear Hollow.

I practiced some wall hits on the slopes of Bear Hollow.

Jason and I arrived one night earlier than our buddies with the purpose of trying out a resort in the area that we had never been to: Snowbasin. Jason was like a frenzied puppy awaiting a new chew toy; he was exuberant over the prospect of boarding some unexplored terrain. His anticipation was not unwarranted. Snowbasin, as it turns out, is pretty expansive, plush and awesome. While no fresh powder transcended our experience, the sun was shining and the air was unnaturally warm. With temps in the high thirties, the snow was more forgiving than expected and we had a very pleasant afternoon.

Snowbasin is a high-class resort with eleven lifts, 2,830 skiable acres and this moose.

Snowbasin is a high-class resort with eleven lifts, 2,830 skiable acres and this moose.

Snowboarders are notoriously cockeyed.

Snowboarders are notoriously cockeyed.

The next day, accompanied by Drew, Simone, Abigail and Adam who had all arrived the previous night, we set out on a snowshoeing adventure at Ogden Nordic, which is located at North Fork Park. (Snowboarding was ruled out as our outdoor activity of the day due to the apparent powder shortage.) No one in our group, with the exception of me and Jason, had ever tried snowshoeing before but, after some awkward acclimating, they all got the hang of it.

Winter seemed to forget its purpose and invited instead of chilled.

Winter seemed to forget its purpose and invited instead of chilled.

Although it was another uncharacteristically agreeable afternoon, half of our gang decided that they’d had enough exercise after about thirty minutes or so of trudging through the snow. Abigail, Jason and I, however, were far from ready to relinquish our sunny positions. We left the others and took a steep winding trail to a fantastic overlook. This viewpoint journey required more work than anticipated and over three miles of trekking but it was well worth it. The overlook was nestled in a nook of dense peaks and contrasting pines. It was quite lovely.

We left the overlook just after the sun descended behind the mountains but we managed to cruise back to the trailhead before it got dark.

We left the overlook just after the sun descended behind the mountains but managed to cruise back to the trailhead before it got dark.

Apart from our frosty adventures, the bulk of our weekend was consumed by board games: Love Letters, Star Trek: Fleet Captains, Citadels and Poison. There was a lot of laughing, a little bickering, much strategizing and a bit of yelling involved in the playing of these games. Most of it was all in the name of fun…the rest was in the name of vengeance.

Simone and I led The Klingon Empire to a glorious victory.

Simone and I led The Klingon Empire to a glorious victory.

What a nice weekend. Sure, the snow was less than exceptional but the sun outshone itself and the indoor diversions were, well, quite diverting.