Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thanks to all our generous and loving family and friends who sent us awesome gifts.
Here is Drew getting some some wicked snowshoe action. Ha ha.
Two days ago we went cross country skiing at Bonneville Golf Course here close to home. Several inches of fresh powder and sunny skies made my tree-hugging spirit come out.
Dear Eubanks and Jordans where ever you go
Traveling or working or trapped in the snow
Skiing or camping or sitting by fires
There's something this Christmas we'd like to inquire -
We know that you're all of the quiet, shy type
But maybe you're willing, this one day, to Skype?
So dig out your cameras, your Macs and your mics
Put down your new toys, your gadgets, your bikes
And tell us just where in this wide world you are
(But please don't use any macho avitar)
Perhaps about noon - that's Pacific ST
We'll give you a call. It's so Eubank, it's FREE!
If you're not near your PC or Mac's ISP
Than happiest Christmas where ever you be
We're snug in our beach haven, happy as clams
The bearded bald fatman and elf Sam-I-ams
With doggie and fire and new concrete wall
Just wishing a jolly New Year to you all!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Lucy and I flew up to the "rainy city" on Friday the 12th to meet up with some of our aunts, uncles, and cousins for a festive weekend. The weekend was filled with family visits from Portland to Tangent and capped with a Saturday evening holiday stage production directed by my Uncle Gray.
Friday afternoon we landed in Portland to a mix of rain and sleet. Skillful navigation and pure luck found us at the car rental desk a mere 40 minutes later where we picked up our sporty little Toyota Corolla.
The afternoon was packed with activities. To kick things off we made a bee-line for the Rouge Valley Ale House in NW Portland where we met up with our good friend Sandy Jones.
Lunch always takes longer when you are at an Ale House for some reason?
My mouth was watering the instant I walked in to the establishment and my head was dizzy with all of the immediate choices available to me!
Friday evening we met up with Lucy's cousin Jeanie Braun who graciously spent the next two days escorting us up and down the Willamette Valley from Tangent, where Lucy's Aunt Mary Pat lives on a beautiful grass seed farm, to the bustling streets of Portland where Uncle Gray's theater production was Saturday evening. We toured Jeanie's home/barn/business and met her energetic family. Friday night and Saturday night we stayed with Lucy's other cousin Katie Larsen, her husband Rob, and their two boys Ben and Will. During the weekend we also met up with Lucy's cousin Ruth Ann, her husband Marc, and two of their children.
To better understand Lucy's family structure you should spend approximately one hour on the main floor of Grand Central Train Station in New York City during rush hour. There are more people present than could ever be possibly counted and even though everyone is related they are all going in a million different directions at an infinite number of variable speeds. I believe this phenomenon is known as "controlled chaos"!
Saturday morning we drove Mary Pat down to her farm in near Tangent. Even though it was raining we had a wonderful tour of the farmhouse, gardens, and koi pond. Mary Pat fixed a delicious venison stew and we enjoyed a few hours around the fireplace in the great family room catching up with Martha Knapp, who is yet another cousin of Lucy's.
Saturday evening, seven of us in attended Portland's 14th annual production of The Christmas Revels. The theatrical production originated in England and is now performed annually in several different cities throughout North America during the Christmas season. My Uncle, who has been in theater since I was an "ankle biter," was the director of this year's production in Portland. We were treated to a wonderful evening of song, dance, and great laughs by my Uncle and his wonderful wife Sam. We met for dinner before the show and after the show we caught up with them at a downtown hotel for a few drinks.
The weekend went by quickly and the excitement was just beginning as Sunday morning we awoke to a massive snowstorm. We drove our sporty Corolla through the snow, hitting top speeds of 40 mph on I-205 back to the airport where we escaped on our Southwest jet back to Salt Lake City. Laughing as the wheels left the runway in Portland, we felt sorry for the residents below as the evening settled upon them and the snow turned to ice. Little did we know that back in Utah we had to shovel our own walks and driveway while sipping on Utah state mandated 3.2% alcohol beer. Thank you to everyone in Oregon who made our trip so memorable. We hope that the relentless winter weather will soon let up, and if you are ever in our neck of the woods please stop by and enjoy some of our "peculiar" beer with us.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
But the show here these days is Barry Manilow. Pass.
The hotel was nice, as was the pool on these 72 degree days.
But I spent most of my time in the Vegas convention center listening to talks and going to workshops on topics like: down hole geophysical logging, new techniques in direct-push sampling, dual rotary well drilling, hydrophilanthropy, and my favorite "repair a hand pump, save a life". I'm not kidding, that was the title of the talk. The talks were very applicable to what I do (except maybe the hand pump one) and I enjoyed the convention, but by Thursday night, I was ready to party. Below is a picture I snapped with my phone in one of the talks as I was waiting for it to let out so I could go meet Drew.
Drew flew down on Thursday and met me in the lobby of the hotel with flowers and wine, him still in his pilot's uniform. We felt like we were meeting for some secretive affair. After we changed into Vegas clothes (remember those new boots I got), we took a cab to the Venetian hotel and casino on the strip. The Venetian is really cool inside with a man-made canal that has those skinny romantic boats pushed along by singing Italians. We didn't do that, but instead we had a fine meal at an Italian restaurant. I had beet-filled raviolli. I don't normally eat beet-filled ravioli (who does?), but I was in the mood for something different, and I was rewarded by creamy, tasty pasta. Then, time for Blue Man Group. http://www.bluemanvegas.com/?sid=2796688 Quite the loud, rockin', weird, funny two hours of entertainment. They do amazing things with PVC pipe and paper hand towels. After the show, we strolled through the indoor mall, window shopping and people watching, admiring the fancy evening gowns in the windows and poking fun at the urbanites.
Friday I had one more talk in the morning, then Drew took me out to see the crash pad. The crash pad is a house operated by a middle-aged women where men rent a room a few nights a month. No, it is not what you are thinking. The men are all Southwest pilots who stay at the house instead of getting hotel rooms before or after their 3- or 4-day shifts start. I was able to determine that it is all on the up and up and I'm glad Drew has a friendly, comfortable place to stay when he has to overnight in LAS.
I don't normally enjoy places like Las Veags - they seem too fake and wasteful - but the conference was good, I got out of the mountain cold, and Drew and I had the chance to celebrate 4 years of being together there. It was a good trip. Thanks for having us, Vegas.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
All the thankful people gathered around the Hale's dining room table. This was the first year the Hales have hosted a real Thanksgiving in their home, so we felt special. We were very grateful for their invitation, especially me since the last time I tried to cook a turkey 12 years ago it was still cold inside upon serving.
Steve carved up the honey-brined bird. It was fully cooked and delicious. We had pretty much all the traditional fixings, including sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and scalloped corn.And for desert, mmm, pies. I made the color-coordinated pumpkin and apple. I tried lard + butter in my crust this time. I was trying to get away from the hydrogenated oils in shortening, and Mom always made her crust with lard, so I figured that was the healthier, correct way to make pie crust. I didn't realize until later that the lard from the grocery store is made with hydrogenated fats. Oh well, they tasted good. Heather made the fabulous chocolate chip pecan you see here.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The stupid recipe had the baking soda listed after all the rest of the ingredients, so when I was mixing the dry stuff first, I neglected to add in the soda. I didn't realize it until half way through baking.
Or is it my awesome husband, who, for two days in a row, has had delicious mostly-homemade meals ready for me when I get home from my 10-hour work day.
I think Drew wins this cook-off.
But I might have him beat as a professional shopper. Last Friday, my friend Rhonda invited me to go shopping with her at the factory outlet stores in Park City. She had a 30% off coupon for us and the stores were having 25% to 40% off anyway. To do our part as economic stimuli, we shopped for 5 hours! Man did I get a load of great stuff. And I'm not even feeling guilty since 5% of my purchases went to a charity of Rhonda's choosing, plus, I have not bought new clothes for months. OK, so since I was so jazzed about my fabulous shopping experience with my new-found, perfectly matched shopping partner, I thought I could handle a shopping excursion to the shoe store on Saturday with Drew. Usually I don't take him shopping because he says the stores have kryptonite in them. The brat was done in 10 minutes and I still had 10 pairs of boots to try on and test out by walking up and down the aisles for an average of 9 minutes per pair. I got some great boots that look good on Drew too.
To prove that I am the more diligent shopper, I made a rather large purchase on Sunday buying tires for my truck. But to my surprise, my credit card was frozen! I had to use another card while 4 or 5 customers were lined up behind me at the tire store. Embarrassing! A while later, an automated robot called my phone to verify the shocking number of out-of-the-ordinary purchases I had made in the last 3 days. I guess the computer thought someone had stolen my identity and went on a shopping spree. It was just me.
I win the title of Master Shopper.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Oh my, what an amazing fall day in Utah. The high was 62 and sunny, so Drew and I decided to not go play in the snow up in the mountains, but instead, get some yard and home projects done. My dirt patch is officially ready for winter. I laid a rough stone walkway to the compost bin so we can continue to compost through the winter without getting our feet muddy. The amazing compost tumbler Drew got me for my birthday a couple of years ago is winding down for the year.
My other little project was to make a parking stall for our trash cans.
The place I put them is not technically our property. Our house is to the right in this picture and our neighbor's house is to the left. But we take care of this strip so we're "improving it" .
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Our friend Steve (here he is)
came with us so Drew would have someone to hammer with. Since all of that endurance racing this summer, I have not been especially excited about biking. Once I'm out there, I have fun, but getting out there on a 55 degree overcast day is somewhat challenging for me. I guess I'm a fair weather biker. Thus the aversion to cyclocross.
To make the trip more fun for me, Drew picked up a RacerX 29er at Revolution bike shop for me to demo while we were down there. What a trip! The first time on a 29er on Sovereign Singletrack. Hmm, perhaps not the safesty trail choice on a bike with radically different geometry than I'm used to. Here are pics of Drew and me on Sovereign.
I actually only ended up with a skinned elbow and a small chain ring gash on my calf throughout the whole weekend.
In addition to Sovereign, I rode Bar-M (super easy) with friend John and his dog Lucy (why do so many pets have my name?) while Drew and Steve did Porcupine Rim (pic of Steve on the rim overlooking Castle Valley)
(I just wasn't ready to face that trail again, as my wounds from last trip have not healed).
On Sunday we all rode the Amasa Back loop onto Jackson's Trail. Here is me on the exposed part of Jackson's. All fun, but I was pretty cautious with that big bike.
My final assessment of the 29er is:
Very much easier to go up over obstacles
Rolls smoothly over little babyheads
Squirly on the decent, and I don't think it was only because I had knobby tires and tubes instead of tubeless. I think the big wheels just are harder for me to handle.
For me, maybe a 29er would be fun as an alternate bike, like if the magic bike fairy left one on my back doorstep, but I'm not going to rush out and buy one.
Besides biking, we had a mini dinner party at our place. My old boyfriend from high school in North Dakota who I had not seen in 20 years owns the condo two doors down from us. Trippy small world. Anyway, he and his kids and their mom came over for dinner. It was good to catch up, and now we know what a full house in that condo feels and sounds like.
Moab is great. Long live Moab.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
The bike is fine and I am healing, but I have not forgiven Drew for just standing there watching me.
Monday, October 20, 2008
We left on Sunday morning and the clouds and inclement weather gave way to clear blue skies and beautiful temperatures in the mid 70's.