Monthly Archives: March 2016


28 Mar

Moab’s Rockin’ Red Light District

Posted by on March 28, 2016 at 3:24 pm

If you came across this post as the result of a search your mom would be ashamed of, you are in the wrong spot. The only perfectly-rounded boulders you’ll find here are older than the dinosaurs, literally.

We rode through a valley that seemed nearly forgotten by mankind.

We rode through a valley that seemed nearly forgotten by mankind.

Jason and I recently celebrated the end of another school semester by heading down to Moab, our favorite weekend getaway spot. Even though I popped one of my ribs out snowboarding just hours before we started for Moab and was in a decent amount of pain, we didn’t alter our plans because of my discomfort. (Snowboarding aggravates my ribs often, a fact I stubbornly ignore.)

Our path didn't cross slickrock too often but it did offer a sampling of rock candy.

Our path didn’t cross slickrock too often but it did offer a sampling of rock candy.

Rock ledges find you when you're in Moab but that's usually a good thing.

Rock ledges find you when you’re in Moab but that’s usually a good thing.

We decided to do a 20-mile bike ride to Prostitute Butte our first day in Moab. Yup, you read that right. We rode that stony lady all day long. (I didn’t name it; I just wrote it.)

Part of this journey went along a trail shared with ATVs. As it turns out, there are a lot of idiots that drive ATVs. As it also turns out, I am not actually a fan of idiots. We had clouds of dust flung into our faces by drivers that refused to be courteous and slow down as they passed us. Plus, I had the super pleasant experience of almost getting run over by an ATV that was going wildly fast around a blind curve. Yup, idiots. To be fair, I feel I must mention that we also had a few ATV drivers stop and inquire if we had enough water and whatnot before they continued past us. So there are some civil off-roaders out there.

Frolicking cows had mucked up a large portion of our path, making for a bumpy ride.

Frolicking cows had mucked up a large portion of our path, making for a bumpy ride.

Although we had some run-ins with the moronic cavalcade, much of our path was completely devoid of people. Some parts clearly hadn’t seen any riders in weeks, maybe longer. Yup, the only morons in those sections were the ones we brought with us. It was delicious solitude after the gritty ATV stampede.

I can't say I have much experience with prostitutes but I'm pretty sure they don't generally look like that.

I can’t say I have much experience with prostitutes but I’m pretty sure they don’t generally look like that.

Prostitute Butte wasn’t exactly what we expected. I thought this scandalously-named outcropping would at least remotely resemble a human form, perhaps even contain some soft feminine curves. Instead, it looked like a misshapen worm. Moab must have experienced some pretty wild days in its past for someone to look at that big block of rock and decide that it resembled a lady of the night. I sure didn’t see the similarity.

Pritchett Arch forms a gap in Prostitute's upper recesses.

Pritchett Arch forms a gap in Prostitute’s upper recesses.

Like any enigmatic woman, Prostitute held a few secrets. She concealed Pritchett Arch and Picture Frame Arch in her ample sandstone folds. They made her hulking structure more stimulating.

Picture Frame Arch is uncommonly angular for an arch.

Picture Frame Arch is uncommonly angular for an arch.

We ended up taking a shortcut on our return journey because daylight was fading fast. This reduced the length of our expedition to a mere 17.5 miles, which, frankly, felt like plenty with all the sand traps, faded trails, and ATVs we’d encountered.

This is a very flattering picture capturing the second time I had to dump heaps of sand out of my shoes within a 30-minute interval.

This is a very flattering picture capturing the second time I had to dump heaps of sand out of my shoes within a 30-minute interval.

Next week, our treks in Canyonlands National Park and altercations with Moab’s giants will be covered. Get ready to be amazed or completely bored, one of the two.

17 Mar

Tasteful

Posted by on March 17, 2016 at 11:05 am

As everyone knows, I have a refined palate. That palate gets invited to very exclusive events due to its uncommon level of refinement. Below is my account of one such occasion.

We sucked pricey vinegar out of the hollows of our hands.

We sucked pricey vinegar out of the hollows of our hands.

Taste is a tasting boutique in Provo. We went there recently with six of Jason’s work friends to… taste. Our experience started out with nine different types of high-end chocolate. Chocolate tasting is nothing new to me; I am a food scientist with a refined palate. Nonetheless, I will never object to putting chocolate in my mouth and describing its organoleptic properties with sizable words that highlight my palate’s extraordinary refinement.

Most of us looked quite refined, with a few confused exceptions.

Most of us looked quite refined, with a few confused exceptions.

Ben was flabbergasted by my palate's refinement.

Ben was flabbergasted by my palate’s refinement.

We next moved on to several types of fine vinegar, olive oil, and cheese. These provided more opportunities for me to say things like “umami” and “herbaceous” while everyone gasped in astonishment at my palate’s refinement.

My palate did not shrink from its refinement responsibilities.

My palate did not shrink from its refinement responsibilities.

The coordinator for our tasting was very enthusiastic but he wasn’t always accurate. Being a food scientist with a refined palate, I know. Still, my palate got to parade its refinement like a jeweled monocle and I got to rub chocolate until it melted in my arms and gave away all its secrets. Tastefulness accomplished.

12 Mar

Spoiling a Week

Posted by on March 12, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I just don’t get it. No, I do not understand why someone with a spouse or a significant other would hate Valentine’s Day. Yet, those haters are as plentiful in February as conversation hearts with “QT” inked on them. Yes, we recently experienced “that holiday”, which means it’s time for me to give my yearly lecture on the absurdity of snubbing Valentine’s Day. Get ready to roll your eyes and shake your head at my unrelenting opinions.

I do not dislike Valentine’s Day for I actually savor opportunities to bombard my husband with well-deserved affection, good-natured embarrassment, thoughtful gifts, togetherness-laden activities, etc. because I love him, duh. This year, it was my turn to plan our V Day festivities and I decided that there was no need to settle for just a celebratory evening when I could scheme a week. I wanted each day to include something unexpected, which means Jason knew nothing of my plotting. Here’s how everything played out.

Saturday: Regency Romance Ball

Look at last week’s post if you somehow missed my too-detailed account of this affair.

Over the river and through the woods to a Mongolian yurt we go.

Over the river and through the woods to a Mongolian yurt we go.

Sunday: Yurt so Good

Dining in the Mongolian-style yurt at Solitude Resort was something Jason and I had never tried before, and we’ve tried a lot of things. So I was pretty excited about this surprise.

How does dining in a yurt work? Basically, you hike or snowshoe, depending on how recently it’s snowed, up a little trail through lofty evergreens for about half a mile until you reach a small clearing. In that dell you find a round building practically buried in the drifts. That is the yurt. It does not have electricity or plumbing, only a giant gas range for cooking a gourmet meal in front of a captive and hungry audience. It’s cozy, with a max capacity of 24, so if you ever get a hankering to do some fine dining off the grid, make reservations early.

The yurt seemed bigger on the inside.

The yurt seemed bigger on the inside.

The yurt’s interior was a little chilly without a heating system. I didn’t wear my coat during supper but I didn’t feel inclined to take my scarf off either. Our feast consisted of five courses: tomato bisque soup with falafel and a dab of goat cheese, steak tartar, quail on a bed of polenta, venison, and brownies topped with strawberries and cream. The food was exquisite and we had a lovely conversation with the strangers across the table while we ate.

Monday: Donuts and Inflatables

If your love is invisible to everyone, it’s kind of like it doesn’t exist. Hence, on occasion, I like to make my adoration of Jason as awkwardly public as possible. So I brought a sappy bouquet of balloons and a couple dozen donuts from Daylight Donuts into Jason’s work. Have I mentioned that I am very popular at Jason’s office for obvious reasons?

Classics are classics for a reason; I will never complain about receiving beautiful flowers.

Classics are classics for a reason; I will never complain about receiving beautiful flowers.

Tuesday: Cupcakes for Coworkers

I took a couple dozen cupcakes to Jason’s work. Have I mentioned that I am very popular at Jason’s office for obvious reasons?

Jason learned how to do some origami just so he could make darling shapes like this out of the gift certificates he gave me.

Jason learned how to do some origami just so he could make darling shapes like this out of the gift certificates he gave me.

Wednesday: A Clever Recess (AKA Nothing)

A day without surprises during a week of surprises is a surprise. Hey, I needed to throw Jason off my scent.

Thursday: Lunch and High-School-Style Car Detailing

I had Jason’s coworkers schedule a fake 11:30 meeting with him so I could take him out to lunch at India Palace. Jason and I used to eat lunch together once a week before I was a student with an odd schedule so it was nice to do that again.

I am no artist so don't judge these misshapen hearts too harshly.

I am no artist so don’t judge these misshapen hearts too harshly.

I also decided that I should embarrass Jason using a method commonly employed by high school students. Yes, that’s right, I blew up 20 balloons and stuffed them in his car and covered the windows with poorly-drawn hearts all while he was at work.

Improbably enough, Jason did the same thing to my car the next day. He’d planned this before my vehicular enhancements. I guess immature minds think alike.

Jason's version of high-school decor involved less paint and more doilies than mine.

Jason’s version of high-school decor involved less paint and more doilies than mine.

Friday: Strawberries and Broadway

I had an arrangement of chocolate strawberries delivered to Jason’s place of employment. Admittedly, this wasn’t an entirely altruistic gesture; I like chocolate strawberries and I’m pretty sure Jason likes sharing. We also went to a fabulous Utah Symphony concert, Bravo Broadway, in Salt Lake City that night.

Saturday: Hoof and Vine

We ate at Hoof and Vine. They have tasty steaks. I made sure I dressed properly for the outing with a polka-dotted dress.

Jason put serious effort into making my gifts look unique. They each had tags on them hinting to their mysterious contents.

Jason put serious effort into making my gifts look unique. They each had tags on them hinting to their mysterious contents.

Sunday: Pretty Sliders

Besides going to the 30th-anniversary screening of Pretty in Pink, I had hoped to just spend a nice relaxing day with Jason and without homework. Unfortunately, as much as I tried, my assignments still piled up and we didn’t get to have a school-free Valentine’s Day. But Jason kindly made the sliders that I had planned on preparing for our dinner and I successfully completed enough schoolwork to take the rest of the night off.

Our Valentine's Day breakfast was supposed to be from-scratch donuts but they ended up being an afternoon snack thanks to their many rising steps.

Our Valentine’s Day breakfast was supposed to be from-scratch donuts but they ended up being an afternoon snack thanks to their many rising steps.

And that’s all I did for Jason this Valentine’s Day… well, besides gifts and whatnot. A little much? Probably, but it wasn’t a chore. I enjoy spoiling Jason and, in my illustrious opinion, life is too short not to make special occasions really special. I don’t believe anyone thinks at the end of their days that they should have tried a little less, that they should have made the most important people in their life feel a bit less significant. While Valentine’s Day indulgences should never replace daily thoughtfulness, festive attentions are another way to add a few more layers of gooey icing to your sweet love cake.

These sliders were topped with Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and spicy fry sauce. Jason made them while I finished up my homework.

These sliders were topped with Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and spicy fry sauce. Jason made them while I finished up my homework.

Not a fan of high-school hijinks? Spoiling comes in many forms and some of them are a far cry from the purposeful cheesiness demonstrated here. Don’t let a dislike of chocolates and flowers keep you from making your spouse feel cherished on Valentine’s Day. Yearly lecture concluded.

3 Mar

Regency Revelries

Posted by on March 3, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Jason and I have been attending the Regency Romance Ball for almost as many years as it’s been held in Salt Lake City. So, of course, this February we again proved that any savage can dance.

He's definitely handsome enough to tempt me.

He’s definitely handsome enough to tempt me.

This year, we Regency revelers convened at the Little America Hotel, a classy venue that added to the general splendor of the night with its stunning chandeliers and elegant furnishings.

No matter how many times I updo my hair Regency style, or have someone else updo it, it always looks different. I did not updo myself this year.

No matter how many times I updo my hair Regency style, or have someone else updo it, it always looks different. I did not updo myself this year.

After filling up on asparagus with mixed greens salad, Welsh chicken, parsley potatoes and vegetables, homemade rolls, marzipan squares, trifle, and parsnip and carrot tarts, we danced the night away. Well, more precisely, we ate a considerable amount of food, danced a bit, feasted again, pranced a little more, and then stuffed ourselves further even though our esophagi were brimming. After all that, we settled down our cavorting tummies with hot tea and cocoa before skipping out on the dancefloor once more.

I made this flower arrangement for the registration table.

I made this flower arrangement for the registration table.

Jason and I were again among the dance instructors this year so we helped all of the confused gentry sort out Meadow Goose, Gay Gordons, Lady Mary Ramsey, Duke of Kent’s Waltz, Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot, Oslo Waltz, Take a Dance, and Sir Roger DeCoverley Reel. Sometimes chaos abounded but, on several occasions, our lines learned so fast I felt a surge of motherly pride for my step children.

Our dance friends are of every age and background but we enjoy conversing with them immensely.

Our dance friends are of every age and background but we enjoy conversing with them immensely.

Speaking of pride, Jason won the Mr. Darcy award for his fine costume. Was it because he wore his haughty disdain about him like a gilded waistcoat? Not really, but he did put on an arrogant act for the contest’s sake. Obviously, that feigned conceit paid off.

I refrained from making a new dress this year so my outfit was a repeat.

I refrained from making a new dress this year so my outfit was a repeat.

I love the Regency Romance Ball and I’m not the only one. Everyone is in good spirits at this event. For the ladies have the acute sensation that they have fallen into one of their favorite novels and the men intensely appreciate that the brownie points piling up will serve them rather well when they want to spend a Sunday watching football with their chaps.

The desserts were my favorite part of our meal.

The desserts were my favorite part of our meal.

What a magnificent experience!