Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snowy Saturday Hike

On Saturday Brooke and I went on a hike with Alexis and her boyfriend Michael.  We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon and hiked up to Doughnut Falls. The road up to the trailhead was closed, but it was pretty easy to hike up there.

The snow had just started to fall when we got up there, and the overcast sky made it look so pretty! The flash on the camera made the snowflakes show up on the pictures.


About two thirds of the way up the trail there was a stream with a bridge over it. It was pretty cool looking. Brooke took the picture above! Then we took some cute couples pictures on the bridge.


Right before we got up to the falls there was a short drop of about 6 feet that we had to take to get down. Michael jumped down, Brooke and Alexis slid down gracefully, and I somehow made it down without breaking my neck in the process (although I made everybody laugh while I was trying to not fall on my face!).

We took a break at the top of the falls and had a snack. And we took some pictures!


(And for those of you who are wondering, yes I do have a beard. I haven’t shaved since Halloween in honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. If you want, you can see more pictures and get more information).

Brooke helping Alexis with her mascara. Make sure you see Brooke’s smile at the end!

While we were at the top I got this hilarious video of Alexis and Brooke. Good thing that they didn’t notice I was taking this!

On the way back, the wind started to pick up and blow the snow around. Brooke took these pretty cool pictures.

It looked like something out of a movie!

Part way back we took some more pictures, and then we started a snowball fight. Now, I have been involved in a handful of snowball fights in my life, but this was probably the best one in a long time!


And here is a video of the beginning of the snowball fight!

Finally we made it back to the road. Before we finished, Michael dropped a snowball and it started rolling, which gave him the idea to make a snowman. So, we all worked together, and despite the snow not being very helpful, we made a pretty cool snowman.

What a happy snowman!

Brooke and Alexis with the snowman

It was a pretty fun hike! I am looking forward to a lot more winter hikes now that we have enough snow for snowshoeing season to begin!

Snowman waves goodbye

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Delicious Dinner

Last Saturday, Taylor and I made a really yummy dinner!  We had his parents and sister over to eat it with us too!  I found all of the recipes on the Whole Foods website.  I had made a dessert called “Pumpkin Chocolate Cake” the day before.  So first, we decided to make an appetizer called “Creamy Cucumber Chive Cups” which were really simple and fun!


The only required ingredients were cucumbers, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, chopped chives, pepper, and olives!

We also made some “Smashed Potatoes with Stilton” and they were also very easy and fast!!  It also had some walnuts on top and that was really good!IMG_0199

We used red potatoes, milk, butter, sea salt, Stilton cheese, and walnuts to make it.  The Stilton cheese was very interesting!!  It has a very strong smell and is very flavorful!  It’s British.  We looked up Stilton cheese online and found some funny rules about it!

To be called blue Stilton, a cheese must:

  • Be made only in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire from local milk, which is pasteurised before use.
  • Be made only in a traditional cylindrical shape.
  • Be allowed to form its own crust or coat.
  • Be unpressed.
  • Have delicate blue veins radiating from the centre.
  • Have a "taste profile typical of Stilton".

Then we made some soup called “Carrot Bisque with Ginger and Mint” and it was really good!!IMG_0208

It had vegetable broth, carrots, onion, fresh ginger, nutmeg, garlic, milk, butter, pepper, and, fresh spearmint.


That’s me chopping up carrots for the soup!

We also made “Fresh Fruit Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing” for serving of fruit in the meal.  It was really good too!


There were lots of yummy ingredients in the fruit salad!  It had plain yogurt, raspberry-apple frozen juice concentrate, poppy seeds, apples, bananas, blueberries, kiwi, peaches, and strawberries!

The only thing we had that we didn’t make ourselves were the Lion House Rolls!


It was so much fun to make a delicious dinner!!!  I wish we had time to make yummy dinners more often!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Richmond Trip

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Richmond, Virginia to present a paper for the Classical Association of the Midwest and South. The paper was about the Junior Officers of the Roman Navy during the First Punic war, and while it went alright, it could have been much better. However, I’m not going to bore all of you with the details of the conference!

First a little bit about the adventure that I had on my way to the conference. I rode the bus to the airport, which meant that I had to leave quite a bit before I was schedule to take off. After walking around downtown with my duffle bag and full backpack, I started to feel a bit like a bum. Finally I made it to the airport, and the electronic check in informed me that I would not be able to fly out because my flight to Chicago had been delayed and I would miss the connection. I spoke with the helpful, though obviously stressed, lady at the counter and she checked me in manually and said I should be fine because the flight out of Chicago should be delayed too.

Well, I made it to O’Hare Airport. But we were way late and stuck on the tarmac until we could get to the gate. Luckily, in institute we had discussed President Uchtdorf’s talk on patience, and I had decided to, well, be more patient! Luckily I didn’t run off like most of the people who got off the plane, and because I was not running full tilt, I noticed that they had extended the shuttle to go across to the terminal where I was supposed to meet my other plane! (see the map below)


I made it just as they were starting to board the plane for Richmond!

After landing I took a taxi into town and checked into my first hotel (the hotel where the conference was being hosted was full the first night, so I could only book the second night there). It looked pretty beat up on the outside, and in the hallways, but it was awesome inside! In fact, it cost 35% less than the second hotel, but it was at least twice as good!

Here are some pictures that I took to show Brooke what she was missing out on.


it was quite a site for sore eyes after a long flight. (And yes, that is a bidet on the left!)

I have only been to the outskirts of Richmond once before as a Boy Scout on my way to the National Jamboree in 2001, but I had never made to the city before. It’s really a neat place!

The highlight of visiting Richmond was the Virginia State Capitol.

This magnificent building was built in the Greek Revival Style on designs made by Thomas Jefferson (and when they added the visitors center addition, they played up the Acropolis Theme quite a bit!)


It was quite an experience to be in a space that people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Robert E. Lee stood in.

In the rotunda they have the statues of all of the Presidents of the United States who were in Virginia. There were eight in total! (for those of you who are curious who they are, look at the pictures below, and I’ll list them at the end of this post).

Of course, they couldn’t leave out the Confederate Heritage (especially on the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War!) But the statues of Lee, Jeb Stuart, Longstreet and “Stonewall Jackson” are in the old House of Representatives Chamber.

(I guess if you loose a rebellion, you get a bronze statue instead of a marble one. Unless you are a cavalry general with a massive beard, then you can have whatever you want)

Oh! And just in case you forgot why I went, here is a picture of me presenting my paper.

After I presented I went for a walk down by the James River. There is an excellent exhibit on the evacuation of Richmond in April of 1865 when it was finally captured weeks before the end of the war. The pylons of the bridges that were destroyed at that time are still found in the river.


On my walk I got a few really cool pictures of the sunset, including the obligatory backlit cannon picture. I also saw the Virginia War Memorial, which was pretty neat. Eventually it started to get dark, and I had a early flight so I turned in.




A few hours later I had my last adventure of the trip. I woke up later than planed, and dozed off in the cab on the way to the airport. I woke up to hear the driver swearing in what I assume is some Balkan language driving along some obscure country road. Somehow he’d got lost, but we made it back to the freeway, and eventually to the airport (despite the fact that we were almost out of fuel!) and I hurried through security just in time to make the flight to Washington D.C., and then on to Chicago and finally to Salt Lake City!

Altogether, it was a great trip, although I wonder if I would do it all over again without Brooke going with me. But, then again, if she went with me she would have fallen in love with such a charming city and now we’d be figuring out how to move there! Maybe it worked out for the best…

(The Eight Presidents are: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson)