Valentine’s Day: despised, adored, dreaded, avoided, relished. How can one holiday encompass so many sentiments? Regardless of how everyone else feels, V Day and I are cool with each other, cool enough for nicknames. Seriously, why would I carry a grudge for a holiday that gives me a chance to spoil my favorite man and do awesome stuff with him?
Come visit us at Pemberley anytime.
It was Jason’s turn to plan our V undertakings this time. He decided to spread things out. From Desert Star Theatre’s production of Pirates of the Scarribbean to the Extreme Mammals exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah, we did a number of V Day activities not on V Day. Attending Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour, part of Jason’s V Day plans, even happened weeks after the holiday.
We’ve become good friends with the members of our dance group.
The one thing we did do to celebrate Valentine’s Day precisely on Valentine’s Day was go to the Regency Romance Ball. We’ve attended this Jane-Austen-themed dance a few times but it never loses its appeal. Since Jason and I are now “experts” on vintage prancing, we ended up offering a lot of assistance to confused dancers at the ball, which was actually rather fulfilling. I decided to make a new dress for this event…again. Yes, I’ve sewn three for this particular time period but a girl can never have too many Regency gowns. I believe that’s rule #72 in the Girl Handbook. (Don’t try to look it up; the Girl Handbook is completely incomprehensible.)
Jason said the gift he most wanted for Valentine’s Day was time with me so that’s what I got him. In this box I placed a sealed envelope for each month of the next year and in each envelope the details of an activity we will be doing together that month.
This February Jason and I had a lot of fun in the name of love. V Day, no matter what others say, you are A-OK with me.
Until about a month or so ago, I had lived my whole life without ever firing a gun. (Unless you count a BB, which I’m guessing most of you would only count a nuisance.) Shooting a firearm has never been on my list of things to do, much as you weaponologists may find that unacceptable. Evidentially, it has always been on Jason’s list of things for me to do though. Fortunately for him, plans for my dad’s birthday celebration this year included a multigenerational shooting-range experience.
The idea of shooting an AR-15 made me a little skittish. My dad talked me through it.
Several of my siblings and I decided that we’d rather do something with my dad for his birthday than give him something for his birthday. A few ideas were tossed around but, ultimately, we chose to take him to a shooting range. We had a mixed group of family members join us, including some nieces and nephews.
I was surprised by how smooth and easy the AR-15 was to operate.
I’ll admit, I was a little daunted by the prospect of handling a deadly weapon; I prefer not to finger anything more lethal than a herring. So I started out with a wee gun with petite bullets, a little 22 that made a feeble sound when fired. Next, my hubby and brother convinced me to try a 9mm. I got fed up with its backtalk rather quickly. Yes, I am a weapons wimp, as if that wasn’t already apparent. After my brief 9mm lashing, I was content sticking with the 22 but, again, the males intervened. They talked me into taking some rounds with an AR-15. This AR-15 did not look friendly. It was a large gun and, as I already stated, I am a wimp. However, I gave it a crack and discovered that it was easier to handle than the 9mm. It fit comfortably against my shoulder and didn’t have too much recoil. I guess size really doesn’t matter.
Our group of shooters spanned three generations.
Although I am in no danger of becoming a gun enthusiast, I had a good time with my family at the range. And I no longer think that guns are terrifying just incredibly loud, difficult to handle, and potentially fatal.
Every February for five years running, Jason and I have shouted an anxious battle cry and then charged into the frosty depths of Utah Lake. This year we again participated in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Utah, even though the frosty depths refused to take their part in this ritual.
Jason and I made turtle shells out of disposable roasting pans.
Utah has had the most bizarre weather the last few months. We’ve had little snow and even less winter. While this strange alteration in climate is sure to impact fauna and fowl alike, far worse than that, it has impacted me. No winter = no ice = no plunging polarly but I’ll get back to that in a moment.
This slippery chute added an entertaining element to the plunge.
Our plunging team this time consisted of six friends and friends of friends. We decided to dress up as characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all of the green guys plus April and Shredder. I came as Leonardo, fitting as I am such a responsible leader. (I’ll have none of those remarks from you!) And Jason appeared as the technological genius Donatello, which is also appropriate.
Yes, that water was every bit as cold as our shocked faces suggest.
Since the aforementioned lack of cold and precipitation left Utah Lake low and iceless this February, Special Olympics came up with an alternative strategy for their event. Their plan consisted of a massive pool accessed by a slick slide, which was placed at the side of the lake. We were a little disappointed at first when we found out we wouldn’t be jumping into the marina but the slide and pool turned out to be pretty fun…and quite polar. Yes, oddly, the absence of ice-bogged waters didn’t really warm up our dive. As confirmed by a thermometer, the pool’s temperature was just a few degrees above freezing, plenty frigid enough to take breath and courage away.
This picture was among the ones featured in the news.
Our polar plunge may have been atypical this time in that neither lake nor ice was involved but it followed normal patterns in many other ways. The water we tumbled into was, as ever, glacially inhospitable and, as in years past, our gang was interviewed by local news channels and featured in the newspaper.
This was my best attempt at a turtle face. Good thing I don’t try doing turtle often.
A big thank you to those that donated to help the Turtles support some very special athletes. Due to your generosity, we raised more funds than all but two teams, over a thousand dollars in total.
Jason and I recently attended Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience. The frequency at which we go to events like this may have you thinking that we are clearly deranged or it may have you feeling superior in your non-con-attending coolness. I assure you, we are crazier than you are cool and, frankly, we aren’t that crazy. Allow me to elaborate.
People attend “nerdy” conventions for all sorts of reasons and most of them don’t involve a communicator and a cube of butter. If you haven’t gone to one yourself, you should give it a shot and here’s why:
Where else can you congregate with other fans of your favorite TV show, cartoon, movie, videogame, or book series? Don’t lie, I know you have one.
Matt Smith, Billie Piper, and Karen Gillan joined FanX and the Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience, which was pretty ultimate.
- It’s cool.
Being a diehard nerd wasn’t always cool. I was one long before it was en vogue. However, for those of you that need the world’s permission to geek out, you now have it. Superfans outnumber sports fans these days. Those that wouldn’t be caught dead at one of “those conventions” are in the minority and clearly have delusions about their degree of refinement.
Matt Smith was quirky and peppy, all that a doctor should be.
Whether you fancy becoming a Borg or just like to admire the slave Leias, the cosplay at these cons can be quite amusing. You can’t help but be impressed by the creative and elaborate ways people pay homage to their most beloved characters and genres.
FanX included scheduled cosplay meetups this time. This cosmic picture was taken by Bryan Rasmussen of Chiseled Light.
I’m no celebrity stalker. Celebrities aren’t magical; they’re just flawed people like the rest of us. However, interacting with some of your favs from the big or small screens can be rather fun. At FanX this time we met Tom Felton, Nichelle Nichols, Paul Wesley, Felicia Day, Ralph Macchio, Anthony Michael Hall, Matt Smith, Billie Piper, and Karen Gillan. Nichelle Nichols, Billie Piper, and Felicia Day were particularly nice but we didn’t have a bad experience with any of the lot.
Felicia Day was every bit as funny as expected.
Never been to one of these affairs before? You never know what you might be missing.
It was pretty fantastic meeting Nichelle Nichols, a spunky, intelligent, kind, iconic woman.
You will find innumerable magnificent collectibles and unique originals at these cons. Trust me, you won’t walk away empty handed. I found a handmade chocolate-caramel sonic screwdriver this year; it was audibly delicious.
Since I am a nerdy foodie, these treats made by The Truffle Cottage were a perfect find.
Interested in publishing your own book or learning how to fight like a Jedi? This is your chance.
Paul Wesley was even prettier in person.
My fellow Utahans, Salt Lake Comic Con returns in September and FantasyCon reappears in 2016. Don’t let your “I’m too cool for my shirt” attitude stop you from checking out these events. You may find that your shirt is a lot cooler than you think.