Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Post #300: this is a MILESTONE. Cedar Valley work report published.

A couple of weeks ago I saw that the number of posts on our blog was approaching 300.  What would #300 be? It should be something that marks a significant milestone in my life, right?

Today, here it is. 

This. Is. Huge.
 What is the significance of that boring looking CD?  It is a big publication for me at work.  Big.  It is the compilation of 8.5 year of this

My office, where I spend a lot of time when I would rather be in the field.

and this

Tumbleweeds bury a fence on a bleak day in my field study area in Cedar Valley, Utah County.

but also fun stuff like this

A gorgeous clear day of fieldwork.

and this.
Me logging cuttings during a monitor well drilling project in Cedar Valley.

All that and much more went into this UGS Special Study, on which I am the primary author, entitled "Hydrogeology and Simulation of Groundwater Flow in Cedar Valley, Utah County, Utah".  It is 224 pages of riveting scientific fact finding and grand conclusions with huge environmental impacts.  Just kidding.  It is a sometimes dry, long-winded, and thorough report on the work I was hired at the Utah Geological Survey to do way back starting in 2004.  The fieldwork was done in 2007, but the computer simulation was not done by my colleague for another couple of years, and then other projects derailed my attempt to get this monster published. The main conclusions have implications for how the Utah Division of Water Rights can divide up the right to use groundwater in this area of rapidly growing population.  There are also some fun water age-dating and aquifer-test data.

The final copy I gave to our editorial staff was 2.5 inches thick. 

But today, this work was finally published.   You can purchase your very own copy at the Utah Geological Survey Map and Bookstore for only $24.95.  Hurry and get yours before they sell out ;-).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fabric grows faster than vines; a screen for the hot tub

It has been over a year since we installed the hot tub on the back deck after the giant home addition.  We designed the deck with a trellis wall to the east with the idea that we would plant vines there that would grow quickly and provide dabbled shade and natural screening from the neighbors to the east.

Design phase Dec 2011. Great view of the neighbors' house to the east from our deck.

Trellis wall on the left still bare as of this past fall.

We really like our eastern neighbors, but their two little boys are not so little anymore, and I was starting to feel a bit "exposed" while sitting in the hot tub in full view of their kitchen window and back door. We can't plant the vines yet because there is still some drainage work to be done on that side of the house. It was time for some fabric screens.

I found some fun outdoor fabric on sale last summer.  A couple of weeks ago, I finally got inspired to sew it up into panels.

The first panel goes up.

Need more panels to block that view!

 While I sew at my sewing table that I drag out into the living room, I watch episode after episode of HGTV.  It just so happened that this one particular show was about refinishing flea market finds into new treasures.  If you ask me, my fabric looks a heck of a lot better as funky sun panels than on a beautiful traditional antique chair!
Phone photo of the TV screen. They used my fabric on an old chair. Who puts modern print outdoor fabric on an antique chair!  It didn't sell very well.

The project took longer than I expected (why don't I expect that this will always happen by now?), and I found myself zip-tying the panels to the trellis at 8 PM in the freezing dark smoggy night, rushing to get everything done before Drew came home.  It was so cold, I had to hold the zip ties in my mouth right up until installation to keep them from breaking.  Talk about needing a soak in the hot tub after that!

But I think they look quite happy and provide excellent screening from the neighbors' house.
The view from Drew's seat in the tub.

Now if we could just eliminate the sniper tower.
Marley loves to sit on the warm hot tub cover.

Yay for crafty projects!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Years Rockin' Eve

Drew's family all lives on the East Coast, so with a few days off around New Year's, we made the trek. 

Pennsylvania has nice woods to walk in:

Drew's father made Drew's niece and nephew the most beautiful furniture.  The ice chest for the boy was not only a work of art, it was as heavy as a refrigerator.

It took three grown men to get it into the van.

Part of the impetus to get together at this time was to celebrate five birthdays within a month. 

There was no way 187 candles would fit on one cake.

Cake and ice cream makes Drew a happy birthday boy!

Family picture time. (Photos by Emily.)
The immediate family.

And the whole clan.

On New Year's Eve day, we were all starting to get a bit of cabin fever.  Time for the family fun center!


I was too busy having fun playing laser tag, bumper cars, mini golf, and carny games to take more pictures.

Then back to the house for New Year's Eve, family style.  Drew's mother prepared a delicious dinner, which we followed with glasses of champagne for midnight.

The big 2013 ball to drop at the stroke of midnight, sans disco lights.

Noisemakers double as headdress.
We know how to party.

We had a great time playing games with Drew's brother and sister-in-law and their teenaged kids.  It was good to reconnect with Drew's side of the family.  In all, a very nice visit.  

We were unable to make it all the way back to Utah non-revving, so we ended up staying one night in Denver with my sister and brother-in-law.  We always enjoy our time with them! 

So we were able to start the New Year with visits to both sides of the family.  That's a great start to 2013.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas 2012

I like Christmas as much as the next person.  Especially the special products that come out just for the season.

And who doesn't like dressing up their pets in ridiculous costumes?

Christmas trees are good too. Our friend Rhonda was feeling so sorry for us because we were not planning on having a tree (because we thought Drew would not be home for Christmas Eve), that she gave us this uber cute little tree all decorated with mini ornaments, ornaments for "D" and "L", and a star!

Which is all the tree we ever really needed, but when we were driving past a house in our neighborhood that happened to be removing a large spruce tree, I screeched to a stop and asked the nice gentlemen if I could snag a few boughs to make our house smell good.  They said "sure" and even chucked some big branches in the back of the truck for me.  Once we got them home, we realized we had the tippy top of the tree, so Drew went to work and trimmed it into a Christmas tree for us. 

Sure, it isn't the typical conical shape, but it made a nice Sponge Bob Square Tree.

On Christmas Eve day we bundled up and went snowshoeing in Millcreek Canyon.

We were very happy to be spending the day together! 
Drew had to leave for work around 10 a.m. on Christmas Day, so I took advantage of the fresh snow and skied all of the groomed track White Pine Nordic Center has to offer - about 12 miles. 
I was feeling lonely without my buddy, so I picked up some Doritos and a some watery convenience store beer and finished off the holiday. As Drew says, "days on, days off".  Between the birthday trip to Moab and a great Christmas Eve, we had had a fun few days off.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Birthday trip to Moab

A few days before Christmas, we loaded up the cats and took off for Moab to celebrate Drew's birthday.

The Book Cliffs and Moab had just been dumped on.  This is the whitest I've seen the desert along Highway 6 and I-70.

The snow made for a gorgeous backdrop to our hike to Corona Arch.

Along the way there is a cool contact spring.

I think this is technically an arch. It is formed when the tool rocks in a large pothole finally erode the pothole deep enough to break through an overhanging ledge.  Pretty cool.

And I think these are volcanic pebbles littered on top of the slickrock.

Drew chose his birthday dinner as sushi in the desert, so we tried the one and only sushi place in town.

The next night, our friend Cathy treated us to dinner at her house. It was yummy and we had a nice visit.

But we headed back a day early to avoid an incoming storm. We planned it so that we were coming through Spanish Fork after dark so we could drive through the park and see all the crazy lights and Christmas decorations in the park.

 It takes about 15 minutes to drive all the way around the park.

The park broadcasts Christmas carols over loud speakers; you can tune your radio to a certain channel and get the tunes piped into your car.

 Many of the displays are animated.  This one is bears fishing.

 So cheesy. So fun.

Pre-holiday outings

Here are a few photos from some early December 2012 outings.

We went down to see the lights on Temple Square and check out the new City Creek Center mall. It has been open for almost a year, but we just don't get to malls that often!


 And we did a nice snowshoe up to Doughnut Falls while the snow was still coming down.  We are hoping to do more snowshoeing this winter.

And just a couple of cute pictures of our friends at a holiday get together we went to.  The hats were a White Elephant gift.