Monthly Archives: November 2014


28 Nov

Desert Pursuits Part I

Posted by on November 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Moab is a biannual habit for Jason and me. We’ve made spring and fall trips to its scarlet cliffs and exhilarating trails for many years now. Yet, Moab still surprises us with its thrills and resilient splendor. I offer our latest escapades as proof.

Klonzo's trails zig through hillsides of burning red.

Klonzo’s trails zig through hillsides of burning red.

We chose the early part of November for our Moab adventures this fall. It was a touch chilly but I’d take a jacket over the touring hordes any day.

Klonzo contains a variety of terrain, from boulders to sand.

Klonzo contains a variety of terrain, from boulders to sand.

Jason recently bought me a new bike. I love it but its giant tires and unique frame threw me for a loop a few times at Klonzo...or almost over my handlebars.

Jason recently bought me a new bike. I love it but its giant tires and unique frame threw me for a loop a few times at Klonzo…or almost over my handlebars.

Our first afternoon in Moab we biked Klonzo. Klonzo is a series of singletracks built in 2012 by the BLM. We didn’t even know it existed until we were heading down to Moab this time. At the last minute, we decided to give it a try and hallelujah for that! We relished our not-too-technical romp on its Borderline, Wahoo, and Cross Canyon Trails, winding through fiery knolls and over unyielding slickrock. We only made it five miles before pricking rain sent us pedaling back to the trailhead in a hurry but those 26,400 feet were glorious!

Jason requested some stomping at the stomping grounds.

Jason requested some stomping at the stomping grounds.

The following morning we hit another new path, this time on foot: the Dinosaur Stomping Ground Tracks. This trail leads, as its name suggests, to an area of slickrock covered with an abundance of dinosaur footprints. The route is only three miles in total and gradually ascends over meandering tongues of stone, making both the journey and its endpoint a lot of fun.

Dinosaur tracks are stamped everywhere at the Dinosaur Stomping Grounds.

Dinosaur tracks are stamped everywhere at the Dinosaur Stomping Grounds.

Jason, for some reason, really enjoys taking pictures of me taking pictures.

Jason, for some reason, really enjoys taking pictures of me taking pictures.

Next week I will divulge the details of the rest of our Moab outing. There will be blazing boilers, 4×4 slipups, and lofty ledges galore. It’s sure to be everything you’d ever want in a post about a trip you didn’t take.

22 Nov

Corny Occasions

Posted by on November 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm

October is a busy month for us. So busy in fact that sleep and sanity are often sacrificed. However, we love Halloween too much to abandon all of our favorite seasonal activities in the name of party planning. Hence, this October we made sure we still got to experience some of the screams and silliness of our preferred holiday. Here’s a synopsis of those shrieks.

Devilish attire seemed appropriate for the Witches' Ball.

Devilish attire seemed appropriate for the Witches’ Ball.

A queen of evil or just your average fiend?

A queen of evil or just your average fiend?

Jason and I attended the Witches’ Ball at This Is The Place. It’s essentially just a costumed dance party but we had a lot of fun jiving in peculiar attire and plan on attending again next year.

There was a number of friendly owls at the Witches' Ball.

There was a number of friendly owls at the Witches’ Ball.

As has been our custom for a number of years, we spent on evening getting startled and lost at Cornbelly’s with a group of our buddies. This outing involved wandering through mazes of both the corny and the scary variety. Romping around in shadowy fields with friends and chainsaw guys is always amusing.

Cornbelly's brings out childish behavior and that's a good thing.

Cornbelly’s brings out childish behavior and that’s a good thing.

And who says aerobic exercise is only for the breathing? Jason and I, along with Jason’s dad Keith, ran the Night of the Running Dead this October. Are you livingly challenged? Do you crave a tasty brainiac on occasion or enjoy scurrying for your life? If your answer to any of those questions was yes then NOTRD just might be the race for you. Both humans and zombies may enter. The humans get a modest head start and then the trackside snacking begins. Jason and I, per our rotting flesh, ran with the zombies. That’s no bombshell but it may shock you to hear that Jason, Keith, and I all won first place in our respective age divisions. How did we manage? Some things are better left buried.

Jason and I took a break from our snack break to show off our newly acquired medals.

Jason and I took a break from our snack break to show off our newly acquired medals.

Jason and I also hit a couple of other Halloween hangouts. We toured the Haunted Village at This Is The Place and explored Evermore’s Pumpkin Fest. What did these hair-raising parks have to offer? At the Haunted Village you wander through the night from one tiny building to another. These structures, historic replicas, are effortlessly eerie but they leave much to the imagination…and my imagination has a big imagination. Evermore also has a different spin on spooky. Its ghostly landscape is very interactive and guests can go on quests through sinister graveyards and forsaken temples. I’d recommend checking both of these places out.

Evermore, along with its abundant haunts, had pumpkins aplenty.

Evermore, along with its abundant haunts, had pumpkins aplenty.

Every year, Jason and I look forward to our Halloween dinner. The two of us spend an evening preparing a meal full of fall shapes and flavors. This time those morsels were broccoli-cheese soup, cheese puffs disguised as pumpkins, and popcorn balls. All three of these recipes turned out great so we were more than happy eating their leftovers for days.

From broccoli-cheese soup served in pumpkins to cheese puffs dressed as pumpkins, our Halloween meal was squashed.

From broccoli-cheese soup served in pumpkins to cheese puffs dressed as pumpkins, our Halloween meal was squashed.

We made popcorn balls the old-fashioned way using our stovetop.

We made popcorn balls the old-fashioned way using our stovetop.

Decorating our house for our party wasn’t my only design task this October. The company I work for encourages each department to spruce up their area of the building for Halloween and gives them a small amount of cash to do so. I was nominated by my team to head up our bedecking. (Gee, I wonder why.) After much debate, we decided that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban would be our theme. I’m pretty proud of what we created on a little budget. House banners colored our ceilings. Dementors drifted above our stairs. Sirius Black posters, cleverly photoshopped with one of my teammates’ faces, covered our walls while hand-painted Patronuses protected them. A cauldron, jars of potion ingredients, wands, and the Marauder’s Map were at the ready, waiting for the magic to begin. I dressed as Hermione and even wore a Time-Turner. One of my coworkers, the poster child, came as Sirius Black.

I made sure chocolate frogs and bars were in ample supply to counteract the Dementors' effects.

I made sure chocolate frogs and bars were in ample supply to counteract the Dementors’ effects.

Leo the Lion, the mascot for the Real Salt Lake, showed up at our office as a Halloween treat.

Leo the Lion, the mascot for the Real Salt Lake, showed up at our office as a Halloween treat.

Speaking of decorating, Jason and I discovered recently that the kids in our neighborhood call our home “The Halloween House.” This name was bestowed upon it because, in the words of one child, we “always have the best decorations and the best candy.” I can never give out just one treat to each of the roughly 125 youngsters that come a knocking every year. So this time, instead of providing handfuls of snack size sweets to every kid, I offered full size candy bars and giant Pixy Stix. Surprisingly, the Pixy Stix were vastly more popular than the candy bars. According to a preliminary survey, this was because they contain a greater quantity of sugar. And who says kids don’t understand economics.

With only a $50 budget, we threw together house banners, flying Dementors, and a potion station.

With only a $50 budget, we threw together house banners, flying Dementors, and a potion station.

Most of this Patronus was my doing. My sketching skills are few so I'm pretty proud of this small accomplishment.

Most of this Patronus was my doing. My sketching skills are few so I’m pretty proud of this small accomplishment.

That brings me to the end of our seasonal adventures. We brewed, we screamed, we crawled through fields of corn. October was hectic but we still stopped to smell the rotting corpses.

12 Nov

Entertaining the Creeps

Posted by on November 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Halloween is a fantastic carnival of fear. Perhaps it’s fitting then that, for the last fifteen years, the approach of this holiday has inspired a certain mixture of dread and excitement in Jason and me. Yes, October means it’s Sabin party time and that means a lot of work. However, as tiring as it is to host, our Halloween gathering has become a diverting tradition for us and numerous of our acquaintances so it’s unlikely to ever fade into an apparition.

This year Jason and I dressed as Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. In a surprising plot twist, Jason didn't not get shot at the end of the night.

This year Jason and I dressed as Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. In a surprising plot twist, Jason did not get shot at the end of the night.

Our bash was well attended again this year. Nearly eighty friends and family members joined us for an evening of gruesome gaieties. We had all the standards: crafts, a piñata, a photo studio, piles of food, games, movies, Bingo, a costume contest…you know the drill.

I ideated and Jason built this swamp using Mylar, silk plants, and fallen leaves. We were pretty happy with out completed quagmire.

I ideated and Jason built this swamp using Mylar, silk plants, and fallen leaves. We were pretty happy with out completed quagmire.

I crafted a couple dozen of these adult goodie bags to distribute at our party.

I crafted a couple dozen of these adult goodie bags to distribute at our party.

The task of putting on this event was, as ever, a bit overwhelming but this time we did have a tad more help than we are accustomed to. Lee and Jacob came over one evening to give us some decorating assistance and Jacob, having not completely digested his creative juices yet, aided us a second night. That additional evening, he worked on a spooky scene in our basement for hours and was shocked at how little he accomplished in that time. Jason and I were not shocked. Such is the creeping pace of this inventive process. I’d guess that at least one guest at our shindig this year (probably one named Jacob) had some appreciation for the effort involved in our October enterprise.

Bart won first place in our costume contest with his Jareth likeness.

Bart won first place in our costume contest with his Jareth likeness.

And, wondrously, the help continued. During our party, a number of our visitors lent a hand with the children’s games. This assistance was crucial since Jason and I have yet to figure out how to be in four places at once.

A group of skeletons commandeered our front room.

A group of skeletons commandeered our front room.

I arranged for The Mouse Trap to feed our party with their artisan grilled cheese sandwiches.

I arranged for The Mouse Trap to feed our party with their artisan grilled-cheese sandwiches.

We also had some post-revelry relief. Andrew and Simone stayed after the other guests left to help pick up the cup corpses and disemboweled food strewn about our house. Thank you!

Brett and Lauren were off to see the Wizard.

Brett and Lauren were off to see the Wizard.

Cozy or creepy?

Cozy or creepy?

Even after those labors, our house was still goopier than Slimer on a lunch break. For instance, our kitchen looked like a ripper scene from an M&M’s horror picture. The floor had to be swept and mopped three times in order to properly inter the chocolate and potato chip remains smeared about. But I think the cleanup is under control now…just hours and hours of de-decorating to go and we will have all of our skeletons put away in their proper closets.

Jenn made malevolence look chic.

Jenn made malevolence look chic.

Foul bottles, glowing specimens, and eerie candles helped transmute our front room into a mad lab.

Foul bottles, glowing specimens, and eerie candles helped transmute our front room into a mad lab.

Our Halloween party doesn’t come about easily. It seems like perpetual preparations are required to pull it off smoothly. Could we scale back? Yes, but anything worth doing is worth doing perfect. Just ask me.

Elise and Emmit made a darling princess and frog pair.

Elise and Emmit made a darling princess and frog pair.

Need a hand with your food? Don't worry, there are plenty to go around.

Need a hand with your food? Don’t worry, there are plenty to go around.

Many thanks to our various helpers. You were instrumental in staving off “the institute” for another year. And thanks to everyone that joined us for our annual tribute to the terrifying. Minus you, we’d be crazy without cause.

4 Nov

Flashing Downton

Posted by on November 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

A couple of years ago, a Regency ball that Jason and I went to with a few friends introduced us to Old Glory Vintage Dancers. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with old-school dancing and Jason’s discovered that he doesn’t totally hate it. This September we stepped our era-appropriate feet up publicly and on the air. Allow me to share our timeless tale of old-timey fame.

Out of all the dancers involved in our flash mob, Jason and I were the only ones, besides our teacher, asked to dress up.

Out of all the dancers involved in our flash mob, Jason and I were the only ones, besides our teacher, asked to dress up.

Jason and I have been attending vintage dance classes ever since we discovered that they existed, long enough that we know all of the regulars and most of the dances now. Basically, our skills have reached that “you don’t suck” level. Hence, the demand for our footwork is currently at an all-time high…the orders are trickling in.

I got up at 3:45 to appropriately gussy up for our KSL clips.

I got up at 3:45 to appropriately gussy up for our KSL clips.

Even at the ungodly hour we had to be up for our news spots, Jason looked dang dapper.

Even at the ungodly hour we had to be up for our news spots, Jason looked dang dapper.

Our first performance in September was at the South Town Farmers Market. Our dance teacher was asked to organize a vintage flash mob for this agricultural gathering and we were one of the couples invited to participate. The rest of the performers just blended in with the crowd but Jason and I were selected to wear period attire, specifically Regency, and begin the flash along with our teacher. Mobbing turned out to be a lot of fun even though our last dance got pretty jumbled due to one confused flasher.

We've made quite a few friends at dance class.

We’ve made quite a few friends at dance class.

Our next public appearance was only a couple of days later and on live television. KSL AM was doing a few segments on the Highclere Castle Edwardian Ball, a Downton-Abbey-themed party that our teacher was putting on, and they needed some demonstration dancers. Jason and I were one of four couples involved in that step exposition. We had to dance three different pieces, which we were only somewhat familiar with…I did mention that this was live didn’t I? Shockingly, the twinkle toeing went very smoothly. However, the reporter, Jenn Hardman, decided to interview Jason and me and, although she prepped us a few minutes beforehand, she un-prepped us by asking completely different questions than those she had primed us for. The result? Some stammering and nervous looks dispensed publicly and preserved on camera. But what’s live media without a wee bit of embarrassment?

This beaded dress is pretty heavy but a whole lot of fun to wear.

This beaded dress is pretty heavy but a whole lot of fun to wear.

Jason and I attended the Highclere Castle Edwardian Ball itself, not just the advertisement for it, and got another chance to Castle Walk and Briar Gavotte. It was a nostalgic evening with charm aplenty.

I hid my long hair for the Highclere Castle Edwardian Ball.

I hid my long hair for the Highclere Castle Edwardian Ball.

I’m keen on moving my feet. For me, smiles and giggles are unavoidable when twirling and hopping on the dance floor. Getting an opportunity to wear antique apparel just adds another layer of glee to something already joyful. Good thing because Jason and I have two more performances scheduled in December.