Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wow..Winter Wonderland in October!

Okay, I still remember Halloween my sophomore year of high school when the Pittsburgh area was hit by freezing rain and snow. A group of us trekked around the neighborhoods collecting candy, being careful to hold onto hand rails, and laughing often!

Yet, when I awoke this morning to slushy sounds, I thought maybe I was dreaming.  I knew that more snow was predicted for last night and today, but I did not expect to see what I did when I opened the door and peeked out.  Slushy, heavy wet snow was on the ground, on our steps, and sticking!  It was falling steadily and later would pick up.

I half expected to hear cries of "no school!," but I wasn't in school.  I'll return for good one day, hopefully.

Instead I ate an apple and then put on shoes to photograph the very close area (back yard, neighbors' homes, etc.).  When I got back, Scott was awake and told me, "it's snowing!" to which I responded, "I just took photos!"

Here they are!  The fourth is one of the sage bushes in the back yard, and the last is of our neighbors' pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

First Snow in the Wasatch

Well, for us in our area, it's the first snow of the season.

As we drove home from the Susanna doctor last night, it was gently raining.  The sky was also filled with all sorts of horizontal lines of lightening.  It was quite impressive, and we were glad we had to be out which allowed us to experience it!

It rained all night, or so I thought.  After opening the blinds in the living room, and staring at the rain, it seemed to me that some of the "rain" was more solid and actually white.  Then it clicked that our neighbor's roof was snow covered, so I opened the front door to see what was happening weather-wise.

Nada.  Nothing at all to see but white.  Shortly before we left to pick up a few groceries this morning, the fog lifted.  The mountains were amazingly beautiful in their first snow.  I ran in shrieking like I had never seen snow before, and begged Scott to make a detour to the Botanical Gardens to shoot.  He agreed, and as we drove there, he looked to his right and exclaimed in awe, too!  He had just realized what I had seen and why we were heading another .7 miles north!

I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking and sharing.

Our neighbor's roof

Before the fog lifted

The same house as above, after the fog lifted

At the Botanical Gardens

More Botanical Gardens

Final Botanical Gardens

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Family Visit (Promontory, Maddox, Snowbasin and Beyond)

This past weekend my folks visited us.  It was their first time in Utah.  I have been babbling about how wonderful our town is, how beautiful the state is, etc. etc., and they were able to experience it for themselves!

We spent Friday night relaxing with homemade chili, Great Harvest bread, apple pie, salad, other stuff, and great conversation.

Saturday brought a visit out to Promontory (north of Promontory Point) to see the Golden Spike National Historic Site.  Scott and my parents had not been there before, but I had visited 11 years ago.  They thoroughly enjoyed the history and views of the area.

We then headed over to Brigham City for lunch at Maddox which was as amazing as always.  On the way out, Mom and Scott were surprised my a chance meeting with Mr. Maddox, the owner.  He was thrilled to hear the service his granddaughter provided us, and they were beaming at the chance encounter.

Sunday contained mostly quality time in the Ogden Valley area and Eden.  We drove through the canyon, went to Snowbasin, spent time at the Olympic Lodge, visited with the moose, and more before continuing on to Causey.  Of course, like last time, the trip required some navigational supports, and we wound up having a picnic lunch at the Eden Valley Market.  We eventually made it to Causey where Mom and Dad enjoyed the views of this area.

So with that all said, here are some photos of the weekend's adventures.  (Thanks Mom and Dad for a magnificent time!)

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Olympic Lodge at Snowbasin

Eden Coffee and Cocoa Co.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Impromptu Kitchen

I was just about to begin cutting dried cherries for cherry-almond granola bars this afternoon when Scott asked me to listen to a piece he was working on for his Psychology in Literature class.

This was the result.  Ah, yes, an impromptu kitchen that worked very well for this granola bars recipe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Pond-Middle Fork Hike

If I have learned anything, it's that life has many twists and turns.  I had two hopes for today, but had not a clue that both would be met.  I hoped for photographing and getting out in nature.

By some random forces bringing it all together, Scott and I wound up at the Green Pond trail head near Snowbasin for a hike.  We followed the trail to the Middle Fork trail.  The views were gorgeous and it was wonderful to get away from all that has been happening.

We took our time shifting our perspectives on the way down and hiked at a pretty brisk rate on the way up.  At nearly 35 weeks with sweet Susanna, I was thrilled with the effort, the beauty, and the hopes we have for our SHE and life.

Here's a look at what we saw and where we went.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Cedar City Run...and a Detour

Scott and I trekked down to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival at Southern Utah University (a class requirement) on Friday.  He saw Hamlet while I ate a small dinner of frozen yogurt and relaxed in the hotel before picking him up.  (I fall asleep in dark places and didn't want to spend the money to sleep in another spot.)

The drive down was pretty much marked with rain, fog, and mountain views (when the clouds let up).  On Saturday, however, things were different.  We awoke to heavy fog, and Scott decided to hold off on his run.  He had found a route close to the hotel that was just the right distance, so we drove it to scout it.

This was the first time I really insisted on going out for his run.  It just felt "right" and he accepted.  We drove the route and at the end found a dirt road.  I encouraged him to drive it a bit, just out of curiosity.  He did.  It lead to some amazing views (even in the fog) and changed his running plan.

I shot pictures while he explored a bit, and then we returned to the hotel for all of the minimally needed items (like a hat and gloves) before returning for more running and photographing.

Cedar City before the run

"Take a picture of me running," Scott.
(aka new camera practice time)

Scott's turn with the camera.

A gorgeous and calm morning

Looking east

My play time while Scott ran

Cedar City

Cedar City from the other side of the road

After the fog lifted

Looking east on the trail

Somewhere on 89 north of 20.
This was taken from the car going about 60 mph with Scott at the wheel.
The detour in the last photo was the result of I-15 being at a stand still just north of Beaver.  We opted to make a 4-hour drive with an unknown-length-of-waiting on I-15 a side trip to new areas of beauty.  

Once we found our bearings at a McDonald's in Beaver, we continued south to 20 before taking 89 north.  We then took 70 west before reconnecting with 15 and making the drive back home.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

City Creek Bike Sprint Report

Here is a list of random thoughts and things from the City Creek Bike Sprint that Scott did on Saturday, 6 October 2012.

  • A beautiful drive down 89!
  • Cinnamon chip scone from Einstein's with a $2 off coupon on the bag (for a future purchase)!
  • Finding "Pittsburgh" hills in Salt Lake City.  Oh the comfort, the joy, the familiarity!
  • A super parking space across from the capitol!
  • Very cool riders a few cars down from us!
  • Kissing my husband good bye and good luck! 
  • Reminding him, "it's not the Dirty Dozen.  It's just one hill.  Enjoy!"  
  • His responding, "I know" with a smile!
  • An unexpected early return (at 1002- the race started at 1000) from Scott.
  • Learning the tube blew on a warm up and  the nice riders near us helped him!
  • Listening to him tell me that the Race Director told him next year's entry is paid for, as he couldn't race this year!  (The RD felt really badly about the happenings when Scott turned in his bib.)
  • A quiet drive back home!
  • A special Starbucks treat! (the first of this pregnancy ... mm :-)
Everything else after the race really isn't related, but the drive to/from Logan was terrific!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One Year Ago

One Year Ago...

  • I took a chance after much prayer, prodding, and research.
  • I sat in the cold.
  • I met a man.
  • I listened to poetry stored on a small computer.
  • I babbled even though I promised myself I wouldn't.
  • I texted a friend to tell her I was safe and seek advice.
  • I prayed some more.
One Year Ago...

  • My life shifted and a foundation was put forth for what it is today.
  • My best friend was introduced to me.
  • My perspectives changed greatly.
  • My heart began to open up to the possibility of what it had always sought.
It seems like more than that, but it's been only one year ago and today my life is lived moment-to-moment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Loving the Little Things

It's two days shy of three months living in Utah, and there are some phenomenal little things that I realize I love about this gorgeous area!

  • Case sales and a basement.  The first two weeks of September, local grocery stores put about 200 items (or more?) on sale.  Cans of vegetables range between 49-60 cents each.  Cans of fruit are a bit more.  There are tons of other items on sale, too (peanut butter, cake mixes, dry foods, etc.).  We stocked up on canned beans, corn, and tomatoes.  Most of it we stored in the basement.  Yes, a real basement!  It is so wonderful to walk downstairs (albeit via outside) and pick up what is needed for a meal instead of having to mentally prepare a grocery list with extra items!
  • No humidifier.  Yes, the air is dry, and for some reason I love it!  We open our dishwasher to allow the contents to dry and add moisture to our home.  Clothes dry on drying racks inside our home without needing a fan (we do open the windows), and without having the noise of a dehumidifier.  (Note- I have rarely, to date, used lotion or moisturizer here.  Maybe I should, but so far, so good!)
  • The mountains.  It really is a change from the creek behind our place in Woodbridge, but I take comfort and joy in looking at them!  As you know from the previous post, they are in full color ranges.  The sunlight peeking over the ridge in the morning catches me breathless at times.  
  • Less traffic and congestion.  Living away from all of the development that was Northern Virginia is a gift, especially given that Walter Reed is moving (in part) to Fort Belvoir, making our former home area a traffic torture zone.  We found a "back roads" way to get to the university this morning, thereby avoiding the school traffic on Harrison.  Genius!  (Thanks, Scott, for guiding me!)  It's also a delight to walk to the farmer's market, to the library, etc., and to be able to walk safely as there are sidewalks everywhere (as opposed to Route 1).
  • A different focus on life.  There is probably a bit of political stuff around us.  There are signs for election day, but they do not crowd every seemingly-available free space.  People are aware of politics, but it does not dominate them.  This is quite the opposite from our former home.

How long we will be here is dependent on a number of realities.  The biggest is Scott's schooling and where he does his PhD.  He is working exceptionally well to make that happen, and I researched for four to six hours on Friday night possible programs.

As with all things, we will go where is best for us and our family.  For now, I am enjoying this opportunity to learn a different lifestyle and am grateful for each moment here.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Splendor in Utah

Yesterday we went up to the Green Pond trail head with the intent of shooting the wow-some fall foliage, but the colors and light weren't "just right" there so we trekked a bit further to Snowbasin.  There was an amazing difference just a bit beyond this very popular hiking and mountain biking spot trail head.

We wandered around Snowbasin a bit, talked to some of the workers, learned that the free summer music series had been extended, and more!  We shot a bit, oohed and ahhed a lot, were grateful to be this close to the trails and area, and then headed back down to Green Pond.

What we found was a packed parking lot with very little space of safe parking, so we nixed our hike and drove onward.  We stopped at the East Fork overlook to shoot some more, and briefly considered hiking.  The trails in this area, however, are unbroken greatly, and a bit steep.  Neither of us had a desire to go beyond our comfort zone, so we called it a morning before taking pictures of an Asian couple in front of the lovely leaves who were enjoying the same spot.

at Snowbasin

more Snowbasin

with our backs to the Olympic Lodge at Snowbasin

part of the Olympic Lodge at Snowbasin

East Fork overlook

more from the East Fork overlook

East Fork overlook views continue

mountain biking trail (believed to originate near Green Pond) as seen from the East Fork overlook

 One day we hope to return (maybe even with sweet Susanna in tow) to hike, but as Scott reminded me, "I wouldn't be hiking even in blaze orange during hunting season."  Chains are required on the tires as of 1 November, so we shall see what is best for us and our family.