Friday, June 28, 2013

Life is in the details...right?

This last week has been pretty uneventful. It's been a rather...floaty week. Not too much in particular to look forward, but with a few highlights all the same.

Last Friday Brandon and I went to a "Diversity Picnic" with his friend Roman's work (Roman works for GE). It was a little difficult to know what to expect but there ended up being a variety of different cuisines and little events catering to different cultures. It was fun to be there, but I think the event was generally more geared towards children. We ended the evening with watching "Connie and Carla" or at least the first half or so of it. My parent's had mentioned going to see it several years before and I only just finally got around to seeing it. It was quite funny. I don't think Brandon was even watching as he was on his computer but he seemed to enjoy the giggles that trickled over to him from where I was sitting on the other couch.

Saturday started bright and early with me skipping my long run and instead meeting Brandon and Duane to go to a fund raising pancake breakfast and then to the Farmer's Market. We finally tried to renowned Limeaid and found it to be good, but not as amazing as we'd been led to believe. Following the market Brandon and I stopped by a house I was tentatively interested in and then drove down to Springville to Grant's parents house. After a quick bite to eat we all gathered outside and then proceeded to take turns playing 4-person Aeroball so that they could get some updated footage for their website. Forget that I've been running a considerable amount lately. There's nothing to make you feel out of shape as quickly as jumping on a trampoline for awhile.

Monday we went out again with Duane to California Pizza Kitchen and then to see World War Z. I don't tend to handle intense movies too well, and I spent a fair amount of time during the movie clutching Brandon's arm, but regardless of all of that, I really liked World War Z. Like a lot. I've heard that it is nothing like the book, missing all of the politics and detail that can make a book a work of art, but the story that was left was still very enjoyable.

Wednesday Brandon and I went and tried the Red Basil Thai Bistro close to where I live and tried Tom Kah (Kha) Gai for the first time along with our typical Pad See Ew. Delicious. I think we may have found a match for Sawadee. And the customer service was incredible. After a break to let our stomach's settle we stopped on over at The Chocolate for a cazookie (aka pizookie). It too was delicious. :)

Filling in the gaps between those days has been lots of running and work! And I've no idea what our plans are for this weekend other than a bit more running!

Note: When I answer the phone at work, I've chosen to simply say, "Good morning, Destinations," most of the time and every now and again I get someone on the other end of the phone who think's it's funny to say, "Well hello, Destinations!" back. It's not. Or maybe it was the first time, but it isn't anymore. Perhaps it would be proper phone etiquette of me to add, "This is Geneva," to my greeting, but I don't because 95% of the time they're not calling to talk to me and I'm just trying to be courteous and expedite getting them to the person they want to talk to. And my name frequently appears to confuse people. There are also people who answer the phone with the name of the person they want to talk to, as in, "Sherry?" No, this isn't Sherry and it's a little silly/rude of you to automatically assume that it is. You're calling a business. And even if you're calling a home, don't do this! So many times growing up I would answer the phone and someone would say, "Cindy! I just wanted to...." and I would have to interrupt them and redirect them. And it was always awkward. Take it for granted that even if the person you're talking to sounds like the person you want to be talking to, it's not them. This is, of course, rather different with the decrease in landlines and in the increase in cell phones, as you usually expect the person you're calling to be the one to pick up...I'll have to think about that for awhile.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NPR Stations, Saris, and Stimulus?

A few things today.

First of all, I recently discovered that the radio station I sync with my iPhone to play music in my car - 88.3FM (here in Utah) is also one of the radio stations that carries NPR here in Utah. How did I not notice this before? I've no idea. But it is certainly a happy discovery. I've also found their online streaming channel so I can listen to them while I'm at work. I already feel much more up to speed on current events.

One question regarding current events. Why do people (Americans here in the states) simultaneously complain about government spending and then freak out (as far as the stock market is concerned) when a government representative says that they're planning on starting to cut back on how much money they're dumping into the market - because the market is doing better? I keep hearing that a lot of the stock prices have dropped a little essentially as a direct result of these comments. But the representative wasn't evening saying that they would stop the stimulus, but rather that, as the market seemed to be continuing healthily, they'd taper their funds. AKA, if the market wavered, stimulus funds wouldn't taper. I don't know a lot about economics but it seems like a double standard to simultaneously boo the high government spending and then go crazy at the first mention of the government decreasing their spending where the stock market is concerned. Of course, it is also possible that the individuals complaining about government spending aren't the same individuals freaking out on the markets, but I would bet that there is some overlap.

Changing topics, in my little world of fashion, I convinced myself that it was ok for me to wear my baggy sweatpants under my long fitted maxi dress to work this morning. It's wonderfully comfortable and it leaves me envying cultures where this is more normal:

I mean, come on, doesn't that look comfortable? That's pretty much how I feel today...though my dress is a bit longer and less colorful.

I dragged my feet getting up for my short run this morning, but with an average time of 9:18 per mile, I confirmed that without any doubt I run faster when I listen to music rather than podcasts. For shorter runs, that's fine, but I think I'll stick with my podcasts on my longer runs.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cecret Lake and Computer Cables

Good morning! Things are kind of quiet here in the office the next few days with several conventions happening in downtown SLC taking most of our people. I'm planning on taking advantage of this time to finally work on some of my last pre-requisite work which I've been putting off, assuming I have time as there are a few projects I'm working on here.

I've been feeling a bit sore this morning. Why, you ask? Well, I'm fairly certain it is the combined stress put on my body from the last few days. Namely a short three mile run on Monday with an hour of Pure Barre after class followed with a beautiful hike last night to Cecret Lake and topped off with a five mile run this morning. Days like today I love my foam roll more than most things.

Picture borrowed from Grant via Facebook. :)
It was windy and chilly up there!

I think we'll be meeting up with Duane for dinner this evening and then on Thursday after work I'm heading to a Medical Lecture on downhill running, runners gait, and training for long distances. I'm sort of excited about it....I mean, I did run cross country in middle and high school, so none of this is a foreign subject to me, but I'm interested to see what they have to say, particularly on downhill running. Should be fun! And then a picnic with Brandon's tennis friend Roman (pictured above on the far right) on Friday. Good things ahead!

Sad news for the week (not really that sad). My computer power cable died on Monday. I had noticed the beginning of fraying about a week before and had been thinking of going to buy electric tape, but never got around to it. And then on Monday I plugged it in to my computer and nothing happened. I have few things to complain to Apple about as far as their products are concerned, as they've generally worked very well for me, but they make really shoddy computer cables because, without fail, within about a year or two, they almost all fray and become dysfunctional. I went online to their website to see about purchasing a new one and they were $75! Holy goodness! For a power cable that habitually comes apart! I found a non-Apple older variety online that should work equally as well (slightly different design that I actually prefer to what I had) for a third of that price. We'll see how that goes. I might preemptively attack it with electric tape at the known weak spots....

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recap on the Weekend: Murder and Miles

Friday, full of tiredness from my lack of sleep I took it easy after work until Brandon texted me to see if I wanted to go to dinner with his roommates at a Mexican place about half way between our houses. It ended up being very good, though I came to the conclusion that I prefer my quesadillas without meat. Afterward we relaxed and watched Despicable Me which I hadn't yet seen. It was quite cute.

Saturday morning bright and early I drove to Sugarhouse Park and started what I intended to be a seven mile run. About three miles in I was effectively done. Up until Saturday all of my runs had been on really flat terrain. The Park is far from flat, preferring instead to be curvy and hilly. I much prefer the variety of the Park, but once I made it to four miles and either needed to stop and put sunblock on (the sun had just come over the mountains) or stop altogether, I chose to just stop. But it was still a pretty successful run for me, as I cut almost thirty seconds per mile off of my average pace. Not bad when you consider the addition of the hills.

After my run I had intended to go over to Brandon's, clean up, and then go with him to the Farmer's Market, but after a little miscommunication we just ended up meeting for lunch with his roommates at Bruges. The Farmer's Market can wait. :) After lunch we also discovered a park just West of the restaurant that I had no idea existed. It's always  nice to discover new parks. Back at Brandon's I had planned on working on a blue dress that I've had in my closet for several years but have never worn, but I quickly discovered that some of the reconstruction would be much easier back at home with my dress form. So I took a nap instead. :) A badly needed nap (although I still slept in until 11:00 on Sunday!).

The highlight of the evening came at 6:00. All dressed up in our fancy clothes and fancy hair and makeup we met up with Amy and Justin to attend The Dinner Detective show. And it ended up being very fun. When we arrived we had to come up with fake names (I was Eva, Brandon was McCloud - you can see we didn't stray too far from our own names) before grabbing some appetizers and taking out seats. We then proceeded to mingle with the other guests (there were about 100 of us) to gather information and look for suspects. We spent the vast majority of that time talking with a Mr. Cormac McFlannagan who seemed like a very eager individual. I think we must have been suspicious.

The show proceeded with a victim stumbling in followed by two detectives/police who narrated the majority of the show, improving with various guests and introducing new clues as they came along. All of the other actors in the show were littered in among the guests and while we were able to guess who they were when the detectives started interacting with them, they were fairly well blended with most of the other guests. All in all, the show was wonderfully funny and by the end of it, Brandon and I had a pretty good idea of who it was and all the details that led us to think that. Alas, even though we made all the proper connections, who won the prize? None other than our friend from earlier, Mr. Cormac McFlannagan. He had been acting somewhat suspicious, poking around the room and asking questions, but it turned out that that had all been evidence of his keen sleuthing nature. His explanation for what had happened, complete with all the details, had stretched onto the back of his answer sheet. Even though we had guessed correctly, we definitely felt like he best deserved to win.

Back at Brandon's the power went out around 10:45 or so and we went on a spontaneous walk and then drive to observe the darkness. Looking online it looked like about 3000 "customers/home" were effected in Northeastern Salt Lake. It was pretty amazing to see how dark it was. Brandon told me later that he woke up, thinking it was daylight outside, around 5:00 AM, only to realize that his lights had finally turned back on. :)

And as for an uneventful Sunday full of quesadillas and cinnamon rolls, I hope you all had a lovely Father's Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Superman and Not-so-super Sleep

I woke up at 7:57 this morning. And I still got to work by 8:20 (leaving home at 8:12). I actually made it out the door alright, only forgetting the connector for my mouse to my computer and earrings. I even took the time to throw together some cream of wheat ingredients so I could eat breakfast.

Why did I wake up soooo late? Because we went and saw Man of Steel last night. Brandon and I had been leaning towards going to see it Friday night (because then at least Brandon would get to sleep in some after the late night) but Grant went ahead and bought tickets for all of us (there ended up being maybe ten of us?) since the seats for Thursday night were disappearing fast. So, Thursday night it was. I'd already been up in Salt Lake and headed over to Brandon's around 10:00 and we took an hour nap or so before heading over to the theater. I'm very glad we did that because even with the nap, I feel very tired today. Four and a half hours of sleep (five and a half with that nap) just isn't enough for me to function normally. As such another nap may be in order for this afternoon....

But, the movie! I quite enjoyed it. I've never been much of a Superman fan, preferring Batman and Ironman, and due to the fact that most of the Superman movies that have been made have been rather terrible, but this film made me more of a Superman fan than I'd previously been. The music and cinematography were very good, although, while the fight scenes were cool, there were waaaaay too many of them. There were also a number of plot holes (only one of which I found distracting) littered throughout the film. Those things aside though, I really did enjoy it. I particularly felt like the acting was good, even though there wasn't much character development...

Anyway, if you like super hero movies, you should go see it. But preferably at a better time (so you don't end up going to bed at 3:30 AM).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cinnamon and Swing

Running went well again this morning. Only I realized that even with the entertaining podcasts I listen to, I need to find some other way to spice up my runs. They're starting to feel...routine. Perhaps if I didn't just run a mile and a half around the block and back they'd seem more interesting. Anyway, the hardest bit about this morning was waking up. It felt sooooo early. But the sky and temperature outside were very rewarding.

Last night I made Snickerdoodles, delicious fruity herbal tea from Teavana, and had bought some sparkling red grape juice, all set for the tortillas and cheese that Brandon was bringing to make dinner, complete with the skillet on the stove, buttered and seasoned for that first tortilla. But, sadly, Brandon forgot to get the tortillas and cheese out of the fridge at work (such an easy thing to forget to do!). He apologized profusely as I washed the pan (somewhat resigned at this point) and then we went out and grabbed some pizza from The Pie and brought it back. Logically, we could have easily ran to the store and bought some more tortillas and cheese, but emotionally, I was done. Time for something else. I'm sure we'll have quesadillas some time soon. But probably at Brandon's place rather than mine. ;)

My cookies!

Small tangent: I went home yesterday at lunch and had just cracked three eggs into a skillet and was looking for my Johnny's Seasoning salt and couldn't find it anywhere. Now, periodically since the newest roommate moved in, I've noticed certain dishes (mostly bowls) that...disappear. One day they're in the kitchen and then they're gone for a week. And the only thing that appears to draw them out is when I leave patient little notes on the white board on our fridge asking if anyone has seen them. They always reappear, but without any explanation. From this I've deduced that this newest roommate takes them and uses them regularly/constantly and just keeps them dirty in her room between uses. After this happening twice, hopefully it won't happen again. It's such a silly thing, but they're my dishes and I want to have access to them. More of those little things, like when I bought syrup and had left it unopened on the counter only to find it open and a third of it gone the next day (she'd also used another roommates sausage - all of this without asking), and like when she'd left her TV on loudly and then left the apartment, and when she'd propped up one of my paintings without a flat edge, bending the painting (twice - I had to leave a note to ask her not to until I could find a good way to display it!) have left me with the impression that, where I'd previously wanted to have roommates, I don't really want to anymore. I think I'd be content just living near friends. This roommate seems very nice but her consistently inconsiderate actions are starting to get really old. Anyway! Bringing that full circle, my Salt is missing. Salt seems like a really strange thing to take, but my first inclination was, consistent with my recent experiences, to assume that she borrowed it. After considering this for the past 24 hours, I think that it is more likely that I've placed it somewhere random and it just needs to be found. But I'm still wondering...

Back to yesterday! After dinner and part of an episode of Once Upon A Time we headed South to Pleasant Grove for some West Coast! And the lesson was really good. But all in all, I still prefer our Salt Lake Westify of my favorite details about the evening was that they provided popsicles for everyone. The dance studio we were in was really hot and the frozen little popsicles helped to take the edge off of that a little. :)

Anyway, today looks to be a nice day. I've been listening to episodes of This American Life online. Usually I download episodes and play them on my phone, but I neglected to download them from my iTunes for just long enough that they stopped coming. So I'm trying to catch up. And some of these stories are fantastic! I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I definitely recommend giving it a listen. :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday News - WCS tonight!

We made it to Wednesday!

Let's running has been coming along quite well. I've swapped a few days but otherwise have gotten all the mileage in that I've been needing to. 17 miles total last week (meant to be 16) and 17 planned again for this week. I've been running on pretty flat routes and my pace has been pretty slow, so I've planned my long run on Saturday to be at a hilly park. :) We'll see if that kickstarts my pace a bit.

I went with a few girls from church last night to donate blood and it was wonderfully successful. One of the girls had tried on three or four previous occasions to donate blood and she had always been too anemic to donate, but not this time! All three of us were able to donate and came away with flying colors. ;) Plus a few delicious snacks.

Two songs that Brandon has introduced me to over the last two days:

(Goldhouse - The Moment)

(Lorde - Royals)

Tonight we're switching things up a bit, since we've got other plans this Saturday, and we're heading down to a free West Coast Swing dance event in Pleasant Grove. Sure to be fun!

In other random perhaps slightly not blog-kosher news, I think I've had a stye on my right eyelid the last few days. (For those of you not familiar with styes, they're basically just clogged pores, like a pimple, but not at all pussy, just a little red and swollen tender point near the eye.) Anyhow, I finally figured out what it was (I think) yesterday and the prescribed home remedy is just to apply moist heat so I boiled some water and used a teabag wrapped in a washcloth to sooth my eye. There was something particularly soothing about it due to the herbally scents let off by the tea bag. Hopefully I'll see it disappear soon, but as this is my first experience with anything like this, I'll be patient.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tidbits from the Weekend!

Happy Monday!

This weekend was fairly uneventful, but I'll share some of the highlights and ridiculousness.

Friday evening Brandon and I went and played tennis over near Sugar House Park. Or rather, Brandon coached me in tennis for about an hour since I'm rather terrible at it. I'd like to play again. Often. As that's the only way I'll get better at it.

Saturday I got up early and went to the Farmer's Market in downtown Salt Lake City with some friends. I was tempted to buy many delicious foods but just ended up going for some chocolate gelato. :) I drove over to Brandon's after that and coaxed him out to eat breakfast at the Original Pancake House. Afterwards I went home and meant to be productive but ended up taking a nap.

I'd meant to get up early in the morning and go running for about an hour but when push came to shove, I slept for a little longer and then opted to go to the Market. When I dozingly woke up from my nap around 3:50, I realized that if I was going to get that run in that day, I needed to get up and go now. So I did! I slathered some sunblock on and ran out the door about fifteen minutes later. How did the run go? Well, I've had better runs. About thirty minutes into the run I rather abruptly became aware that it was HOT outside and then I was very thirsty. But I was three miles from home and the route I'd taken had brought me by many houses, but no fast food restaurants or anywhere else where I could easily just run in and ask for a glass of water. So, I walked for a few minutes to gather myself and then set out a trot to make it back home, constantly licking my lips and running with my mouth closed to keep it from drying out. I made it home just fine but if I ever go for runs longer than thirty minutes in the middle of the day when it is hot, I'll definitely take water with me. Mostly, I think I'll just try to run in the morning.

Saturday night I returned to Brandon's and we went out for pho with Dallin and then Brandon and I headed to West Coast Swing to get our move on. Quick anecdote from that. About fifteen minutes into the dance portion of the evening (after the hour lesson), I was heading over to the drinking fountain and just passed our instructor for the lesson as I reached the fountain. As I was just beginning to sip the water she patted me quite hard on the back, thanking me for coming to the lesson. Laughing and spluttering, the lower half of my face now well covered in water, I came away from the fountain dripping and she realized that her "pat" had accidentally pushed my face into the water. A number of unnecessary apologizes later and we were all just chuckling over it. I let her get a drink of water before I returned to the fountain. ;)

Sunday after church Brandon and I were hanging out watching videos in his room and he jumped up to grab some little cracker packets (packets of four) and as he tossed a packet to me, I had the not-so-bright idea to try and catch it in mouth. It should have been easy, right? Well, maybe not. I got close, but the packet was a little farther down and to the right than I'd anticipated (or I didn't open my mouth wide enough) and I ended up mostly catching it on my right lower lip, which then, of course, began to bleed a little (inside my mouth). This was all quite amusing, as you'd imagine, as the stupidity and absurdity of the situation grossly outweighed the minor inconvenience of a small cut inside my mouth. :) I won't be trying to catch things that big in mouth any time in the near future....

For dinner we drove up to Zach and Emily's for some delicious grilled hamburgers. How It Should Have Ended videos (google it if you don't know what it is) and a few games followed.

On my way home from Brandon's in the evening I came across one of Alaska's (judging by his license plate) worst drivers. How did I discover this? Well, as I'm zipping along the freeway at about 70 mph in the second to far right lane (the far lane was the lane about to merge), he comes up at about 80 in the far right lane. I could immediately see that he was not going to make it past me at the speed he was going in time to merge in front of me, but he apparently didn't see this until the absolutely last moment when he got over just behind me and then over into the middle lane. Very awkward and unnecessary because were there any other cars around us to get in the way of him getting over to begin with? Not a soul. So why he didn't just get over into the middle lane to begin with, I don't know. But it didn't quite end there. Nope, he then proceeded to sit in the middle lane just a few feet ahead of me (I'm effectively in his blind spot now) and slowed down enough to stay there (I'm on cruise control so my speed isn't changing at all) until we finally reached another car in the far right lane, forcing me to slow down to get over behind him. Does that make sense? Not only does he attempt to speed up to block me in the merging lane (when there are no other cars around) but he slows down and blocks me in to make me slow down to get over at all. It was ridiculous. I drive around people who are inconsiderate and oblivious all the time. I know that's normal. But given how awkward, inconsistent, inconsiderate, and directly frustrating this driver was to my own driving (particularly given that in the space of the ten minutes or so we were driving in the same space along the freeway we passed only one other car), I really do wonder if he wasn't doing it on purpose. Maybe he was mad that I didn't slow down (in the FAR right non-merge lane) to let him merge in front of me - because who cares that there were two perfectly open lanes to the left. And never mind that the legal passing lanes are the left lanes. And never mind being consistent about your speed.

Mr. A making the most awkward transition possible from the far right merge lane to the middle lane.
Mr A then slowing down and boxing me in, making me have to slow down to get over. 

I really don't have very many pet peeves, but poor driving is definitely one of them, and while I am far from a perfect driver, I do drive with the intention of being communicative and considerate of those around me. Quite unlike our friend from Alaska last night. I often feel like I should honk at these people, make them aware that there is something wrong with what is happening, but I almost never do. I mostly doubt they'll realize what they've done, making the honk serve no purpose. And while complaining to all of you is a little bit of a release of the annoyance, it doesn't solve the problem that somewhere out there, there is a driver from Alaska who is being really obnoxious.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

St. Louis Wedding Guests!

Just a few photos from the wedding this past weekend! It was wonderful to see my family and wonderful to be there with Brandon. Those two things, on top of the plethora of details that made the entire weekend interesting and fun, really made it incredible for me. 

I love this guy! (And hey, it's the dress I was working on!)


I love my family!
 And as usual, there are plenty more photos to be viewed (if that's what you're into) on facebook. :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Few Videos from Havasupai

Happy Wednesday! (I had to think for a minute there to remember what day it was...)

I went running last night right after work (first time in my running shoes since hiking in Havasupai) and while I was running I sort of felt like the insoles were turned up at the toes a bit, crunching my toes a little. I almost didn't think of anything of it when I put my shoes on to go running again this morning, but I decided to take a look and found about a tablespoon of sand at the toes of each of my shoes. My feet were much happier once I'd dumped it out.

In honor of those two tablespoons of sand, I thought I'd share Cam's videos from Havasupai since I hadn't gotten around to doing that yet.  Here's the full beautiful video that really captures the entirety of the beauty of the place.

Havasupai from Filmingo on Vimeo. (Havasupai)

And here's the second video of us jumping. :)

Jumping Havasupai from Cameron Goold on Vimeo. (Jumping Havasupai)

(There's another video that Zach posted of us jumping that is only on facebook.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Meet Me in St. Louis!

Hello from Salt Lake City! And how happy I am to have made it back on Sunday night. :)

I feel like there are so many details to tell, so many good things to remember, so I'll do my best, but I may miss things here and there...during the long hours on the different plane rides I tried to write it all down, but I'm still not sure I got it all.

Thursday night I went over to Brandon's after work and we combined our belongings into one suitcase and then I checked the flight again and we - in our anticipation - headed over around 6:15 (for an 8:08 flight). Grant and Dallin dropped us off as they headed out to find dinner. I'd been checking the flights all day and they'd looked great but I remain mystified as to where all the random people come from for flights that look so open hours before. I was a little worried as this flight drew closer that I wouldn't get on, but I ended up being fine, sitting in the last row in the back right corner with no window. But a seat is a seat. :)

Our flight wasn't too long, near about three hours or so, but the weather going in was fairly turbulent, so I was really happy when we were finally on the ground. I've never been sick on a flight, but I was starting to feel just a tinge queasy as we descended into St. Louis. Solid ground is nice.

Once in the airport I texted my dad and he sad he was up waiting at a certain door in the departures area. Note on that, my family has almost always picked up in the departures section because it's usually a little easier and on top of that, the hours when we're being picked up are usually the opposite of whenever there are departures so the departures area is usually pretty empty and vacant. And when Brandon and I walked outside, there was hardly a car in sight. In fact, there was only one regular car (which left shortly) and a cop car. We'd been standing there for maybe 30 seconds when I heard the cop say something kind of loudly. I was engrossed in texting my dad to let him know we were out there so I wasn't really paying attention, but Brandon quickly said quietly that he thought that the cop was talking to us. I looked up at the cop and then back to my phone and then the cop confirmed Brandon's suspicions, yelling a bit louder, asking us if we were waiting for someone. We confirmed this and then he proceeded to tell us that we needed to go downstairs to the arrivals and "pick up zone." We tried to explain that our ride was coming up here but he repeatedly just said we needed to go downstairs. Never mind that there weren't any cars up there and that it was almost 1:00 and there weren't likely to be any people dropping off anyone. He wanted to go downstairs. We tried to object a bit more but like a broken record he just repeated again and again that this was the drop off area and that we needed to go down to the pick up area. Frustrated, I started texting my dad to let him know we were heading down to the "pick up area," but as we slowly walked back to the door along came that maroon jeep liberty. So there we were, close to the door and my dad was about ten feet away. What to do?

Well, seeing as the only reasonable thing to do was to head to the car, that's what we did. We were there, my dad was there, it made sense. But who made a bee-line to the passenger side front door window? The cop. He knocked on it and shewed at us as we headed towards him, telling us that we needed to go downstairs, but by this time my dad had rolled his window down and the cop had someone else to argue with. As the cop and my dad argued back and forth, my dad pointing out that there wasn't anyone else up here and that since we were already here it was ridiculous to go down now, the cop just went on like he had, saying this was the drop off zone, and that was the pick up zone. After a short moment I grabbed our suitcase from Brandon and went to the back of the jeep, knocked on the window to have my dad unlock the door and popped the bag in as soon as he did. I walked over to the back seat door and opened it and climbed in, motioning to Brandon to get in as well. All the while the argument continued circularly without any new points being made, although the cop did threateningly say he could give us a ticket. For what? Picking up in the drop off zone. That's what. Once Brandon and I were both in, after a moment more of arguing my dad finally said, "Well you know what, we're good now, so we'll just go. Thanks." And off we went.

Now, honestly, I did feel a little bad for the cop. He has a job that sucks and he was doing his job, trying to enforce the rules, even when the rules were absurd and ridiculous. But it was also frustrating to see him push a bureaucratic rule in the most silly ways. It occurred to me yesterday when I was writing this down that in any other situation where I've been around an active cop, I've always been respectful and generally compliant and patient. I'm not certain what it was about this situation that allowed me to internally completely ignore that general respect, but it definitely wasn't there. It might have been how ridiculous I thought the situation was and it might have been the repetitive manner in which the cop approached the situation, but even now, I'm not really certain how much power he even had to do anything but tell us to move....

Anyway, off we went to our Drury Inn hotel (what an awful name - I get the reference but I can only look at the name and think dreary). It was nearing 1:30 at this point and Mom and Carina had just decided that they were going to head to bed (Mom had just opened the door to head up to their room) when we popped around the corner out of the elevator. Quick hellos were said and then all went to bed.

Bright and early (though not too early) we got up and headed straight down to breakfast with everyone. After breakfast we returned to our rooms and quickly got ready and rushed out the door, piled into the car (six of us in five seats) to race to the temple (as the GPS said it would take longer than anticipated and we didn't want to miss Grant and Melissa coming out of the temple!). About five minutes in Morgan asked if we knew that the gas meter read that we only had 4 miles left to empty. We'd noticed this the night before but we'd totally forgotten. A quick hurried pit stop later and we were back on the road. We got there a few minutes late but happily had more than twenty minutes to wait before Grant and Melissa came out.

Cousins of the bride!
Pictures followed for the next hour or so. Storm clouds and lightening had been looming for most of the morning but it wasn't until we were just wrapping up some of the formal shots that the downpour began. We sat in the car for a little bit and then drove in mass to the St. Louis Bread Company (otherwise known as Panera Bread to the rest of the country) for a nice lunch (Morgan and I shared a bowl of broccoli and cheese in a breadbowl - yum!). After lunch Mom, Grant, and Melissa took off to take some more photos and the rest of us went back to the hotel to relax. Brandon and I started watching Argo, but it quickly turned into Brandon napping and me watching Argo. :)

Around 5:00 I woke Brandon up and we got back into our fancy clothes (and did I mention that Brandon wore his three piece suit and bright red converse and looked fantastic?) and left for the reception. It was held at a local church building not too far away. We got there, helped with the last bit of set up and then dinner and celebration commenced. My Uncle Glen and Aunt Doris had been making a poster-board card using candy and we made our best attempt to help make another. It had a few lines and then ended with a hodgepodge of candy. Real creative. ;)

The reception itself was nice with the usual trappings wrapped up in a fun Alice in Wonderland theme. Kyle finally made his appearance about an hour into the reception which ended up being very timely as not more than about an hour later we started hearing sirens and everyone with cell phones got eerie simultaneous weather alerts. We took it pretty lightly at first but then headed out into the halls to wait it out and socialize, pausing our dancing.

Though nothing happened, looking back at it now, this was a really smart move. An EF3 tornado passed not more than three miles from where we were at. For some perspective on this, here's the path of the tornado. If you zoom in on the part of the path just below the words for St. Charles (about where the tornado crosses the river), just to the right of that is another road that crosses the river called Page Avenue. Where Page Avenue heads north and meets Old Highway 94 is the approximate location of where the church building was at. Where we were at. Crazy! The weather outside our building was pretty mad (gorgeous though) but I didn't really realize how close it was.

About thirty minutes later we were dancing again. I requested some West Coast Swing dance songs (or rather, songs that are good for dancing West Coast Swing) and Brandon and I were able to get a little in. Picking those songs unfortunately cleared the floor, but we'll have to work on that....somehow. It would be nice to request music that we can dance to without making everyone else feel like they can't dance...and hey, I caught the bouquet! Brandon then made an admirable effort to claim the garter (cause wouldn't that have been cute!) ;) but that didn't quite happen. Grant and Melissa took off and we helped clean up everything and took off. I've been to a fair amount of receptions and it is wonderful to finally be dating a guy that, while I may still have to initially persuade him onto the dance floor, both enjoys dancing and can hold his own. :)

Saturday morning we had a lazy morning, getting up late and going down to breakfast at a meander.  Around 11:00 we headed over to Goodwill (really close to the hotel) and wandered around there for a little less than an hour hunting for treasure. Highlights of that stop included "Moon Shoes" (little trampoline shoes) for Morgan (which she ended up leaving with), an Angry Birds - Star Wars - Darth Vader, and a giant catfish pillow (I had Mom pausing to think whether she could pull it off (she has at least one fish pillow at home) but she decided to opt out and after I'd returned it to it's pillow pile a little boy picked it up no more than five minutes later and his dad laughed and laughed at it and I saw them check out with it.).

Giant Catfish Pillow
Moon Shoes!
After Goodwill we drove over to the park near Grant's parent's home where the Open House for Grant and Melissa was being held. We spent awhile throwing a frisbee around and then Brandon and I took a walk over to the playground. The kids playing there watched Brandon like hawks and when Brandon went to do a pull up on one of the bars one kid immediately started counting them off - somewhat silly as Brandon only did one - and then later when Brandon did a back flip the kid could hardly contain his excitement as he ran off to tell his friend about it. Aside from that we hung out with everyone for a few hours, bid Carina farewell as she left for the airport, and then took off to explore the downtown.

We parked in a garage about "halfway" between the Gateway Arch and the City Museum and walked over to the Gateway Arch first. Beautiful! We took a quick tour of the museum and then rode the little pods to the top of the Arch to enjoy the view. We'd been kind of sitting on the fence about doing that but I think it was definitely worth it. Down again we walked over to the river for a while and looked at the swollen water and flooding for a bit before heading back across the lawn towards the city. Then began the somewhat longer walk to the City Museum but we stopped to cool our heels and fill our bellies at a TGI Friday on the way. Which ended up being more delicious that I usually remember TGI Friday being - particularly as we ordered a bunch of appetizers and turned it into a tapas meal where we got to try a variety of different things.

The Gateway Arch
Love this guy!
Up at the top of the Arch!
Kyle, Mom, and Dad!
Morgan and Katherin!
Pose at the bottom!
Enjoying the view up!
We finally made our way over to City Museum and immediately we were impressed. On the outside just outside the door you could see the huge outdoor wire maze area complete with raised towers, suspended airplanes and twisting and turning wire spiral tunnels. Such fun to come! We quickly purchased our wristbands (it cost a few more dollars to purchase the roof access passes so we opted out of those - not really knowing what we were getting into - in retrospect this was a smart decision as even with the three to four hours we spent there, we barely scratched the surface of what was available to us) and then split up to explore. Kyle, Brandon, and I took a spiral tunnel from the second to third floor and started there. The tunnel opened up to the entrance to a sprawling ballroom and the only part of the building that I would later qualify as being museum-like.  We explored the museum, touching and climbing on everything we came across. So often when you go to museums they're a mix - some stuff is hands on and some stuff you're specifically told not to touch, but with the City Museum, if it looked like you could crawl into or around something, you could. We came to a small round iron door and passageway that led us to another part of the museum, crawled through a few more tunnels and found ourselves near where we'd started again on the third floor. We then went over to an area with ropes and ramps where kids were running around and trying tricks. Over on one wall was a small entrance to some passageways behind the walls. I thought it might be a crawl space that just took you over to the other side of the room but it ended up being about six layers of crawl space at varying levels of height and width. We all got separated in there but were able to find each other as we headed out. Brandon kept calling "Eeeeeva!" and was greeted with a "WaaaaaAalleee" in return from the kids in the tunnel, which of course meant he kept on yelling it even when I was nearby. :)

What the all the ramps and spirals look like from the inside. 
Spiral up to the third floor!
Random tunnel!
Caution going into the wall spaces. 
Long slide down to the first floor!
From here we wandered around the fourth floor a bit, really just going up in order to access the long slide that went back to the ground floor so we could go outside. It has been cool just looking at the wire maze from the outside but wandering it from within was awesome. The wire ramps, spirals, and tunnels led up and up to the airplanes with tunnels extending above them through the air. The design of all this, aside from beautiful aesthetically, was done in such a way that the supports were practically invisible. Much of the support came from the towers that sort of stacked levels up, but the remainder mostly came in heavy cables and the structure of the metal tunnels themselves. So when you were up in the highest wire tunnel, the tunnel itself was doing most of the work to support you, even slightly swaying as you went across. It was fantastic. :) We wondered around there for awhile before finally making our way down to the ball out. Imagine a regular ball pit like you'd usually expect for kids with the plastic balls and netting around the outside but then blow the plastic balls up to basketball size and exchange the small children for older kids and adults. We initially all waded in throwing the balls at each other but then wandered up to the stand above the ball pit. From there Brandon threw balls up to us and we pelted people from above. This turned out very handy when Brandon started getting walloped by a girl with several balls and I could retaliate by pegging her with several head shots. Nobody hurts my boyfriend. ;)

One of the several towers.

Suspended airplanes.

Climbing up!

Highest tunnel!


Kyle coming through!
We went in shortly after that and immediately ran into Mom and Dad and took them back out and led Dad around the wire Maze a bit, taking him through the high tunnels and down the slides. Before too long we headed back in to find Mom and finally made our back towards the first floor. To find what? Only a gigantic cave network of caves and tunnels that led up and up to a 10 floor spiral slide and more!
Round and round!
Awesome mirrors.

At this point in the evening , after all the crawling and climbing we'd already done we were pretty hot, sticky, and tired. But on we went! We were told that the entrance to the stairs up to the 10-floor slide was somewhere in the caves, but we'd already slid our way through a network of little tunnels rather high up and hadn't seen anything, so we wandered around exploring other networks of tunnels for awhile before finally finding ourselves in the caves again. But this time we were in the larger tunnels deeper in the caves and pathways that led higher in the building. Up the stairs and ramps through an open section in the floor we went! Off to the sides we could see half finished spiral slides that abruptly had missing pieces in them (scary!) but we finally reached the proper slide  to go down. And who did we randomly run into at the bottom? Mom, Dad, and shortly after, Kyle. At this point we were essentially in the middle of the network of staircases and slides, all beautifully and artistically laid out with steam-punk edginess. We took a seat in one of the many stranded rows of velvety theater seats and waited as Dad climbed up to the slide to come down. And then we split up and each went separate ways to meet up at the bag claim (we weren't required to leave our bags, and I kept mine with my camera and phone in it, but crawling around without a bag is definitely easier than crawling with a bag). It was amazing that we could all leave through different paths but cross paths continually the entire way out.

We finally found Morgan and Katherine (who Brandon, Kyle, and I hadn't seen most of the time we were there) and went up to the veranda for slushies and cool drinks before heading out into the booming crowded streets of the evening to walk back to the garage. Everything was lit beautifully with twinkle lights and between that and the crowds the energy walking back through the city was very high and exciting. Back at the cars we piled in and Brandon, Kyle, and I drove back to the hotel and fell into bed after some quick showers to rinse off the grime of the day.

Awesome mural on most the building (only a few real windows there!)
If you ever find yourself heading to St. Louis, I absolutely recommend that you go to the City Museum. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. And bring knee pads if you can, as that will make the whole experience much softer on your knees. I'm not really sure how the City Museum was put together, as the level of detail and the potential for injury seems too high to make it legally viable, but the whole experience was incredible and beautiful and I never felt unsafe as I crawled and clambered my way around. It was awesome. Literally awesome. Both the experience and the fact that they could pull it off.

Sunday morning blossomed not too early and after breakfast we said goodbye to Mom and Dad (headed to Cincinnati), finished packing everything up, and Kyle and Morgan drove Brandon and me to the airport. Only around 11:30 by the time we arrived, we had several hours to wait before I tried to get on the 2:09 flight back to SLC. We wandered around the terminal and found a nice place to relax and play games on our phones for a few hours. That morning I had checked on both the 2:09 flight to SLC and the 6:40 flight to SLC (the one Brandon was going to be on) and both of them had looked pretty good with at least 15 extra seats on each one. However, the weather in the entire Midwest was pretty terrible the entire weekend and somehow all of the seats on the 2:09 flight completely disappeared. So we settled down to wait a few more hours until the 6:40 flight. And as things would have it, the same thing happened with the 6:40 flight. Where it had looked good just a few hours before, the seats started to vanish. But when I went up to the gate agent he said that I was "on the fence" of getting on. So Brandon waited with me until everyone else was on and then at the door just past scanning his ticket. At that point there were two girls who were waiting who were just in front of me to get on. When the gate agent told them that he thought he had two seats, they jumped up and down excitedly until one last passenger showed up to get on, leaving us all with the impression that there was now only one left. Brandon had already walked down to the plane at this point. The agent asked the girls if they wanted to split up and they decided they didn't want to so that last seat was to be mine! I excitedly walked down to the airplane where Brandon was still waiting in line to get to his seat and the flight attendants stowed my bag in a compartment just next to the door to get on. But as we waited there, the agent warned me that he was pretty sure there should be a seat, but wasn't 100% certain he'd counted the passengers on right. And as I walked down to the end of the airplane, scanning the seats, it became painfully clear that he had counted wrong and that there weren't any empty seats. :( That is the worst feeling, getting your hopes and excitement up and then having it fall around your feet. I waved at Brandon and got off to puzzle out how to get back to SLC. And I'll admit that in that moment, I was a little teary eyed. No crying, but on the cusp. It was just a brief emotional rollercoaster that had pushed me back to working the game. But that's what it is to be a standby. Inexpensive but at a risk.

Playing games on our phones as we waited.
I talked to the gate agent there and he recommended that I wait until the 2:09 flight the next day but there was no way that I was going to do that. I knew that there was a last flight heading to Atlanta and that there was a connecting flight to Huntsville and so I asked him if he could rearrange my listing to head there. He said that it didn't look good for me to get on the Atlanta flight as there were a long list of standby passengers waiting on that one, but I'd looked at the lists and had seen that my priority placed me about eleven seats in for twenty seats available and that even though the list looked intimidating, I'd probably get on. He then said he couldn't list me because the gate agent for that flight had locked in the controls, so I headed down to the gate he'd indicated (I was at C2 and the gate the flight was supposed to be going out of was C10 or C12) and found almost no one there but a sign saying that the flight had been moved to C4. When I finally got back to C4 there was a little line waiting for the counter but no one at the counter. I waited for a few minutes, went back to double check that I hadn't missed anyone at the C10/12 gate and then returned to C4. A few minutes later an agent finally showed up and I was able to ask her to list me. She actually found that I had already been listed (somehow the previous agent had been able to do it even though he hadn't thought he'd be able to) and gave me a new seat request ticket. I walked off to the side and pulled up the lists again on my phone and then called my Dad (I'd called him when I'd not been to get on the 6:40 flight and he'd been working on finding wifi (at Newport in Cincinnati) so he could use his computer instead of his phone). When I talked to him, however, he said he didn't think flying to Huntsville was going to work, but maybe, just maybe, I could make the last flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City. I hadn't even seen this combination when I'd looked but he explained that the flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake, originally scheduled to depart Atlanta at 9:45 had been delayed to depart at 10:30. However, the flight from St. Louis to Atlanta had been supposed to leave St. Louis at 7:07, arriving in Atlanta at 9:45, but is had also been delayed to leave until 7:55, scheduled to get in at what time? 10:30. So these two flights would overlap too much. But I went ahead and got on the Atlanta flight as my dad listed me for the Atlanta to Salt Lake City flight (rather than the Huntsville flight which I was currently listed for). He'd also texted me the gate I was supposed to arrive in (B25 - it ended up being B21) and the one the Salt Lake City flight was leaving from (D26). If you're at all familiar with the Atlanta airport, the stairs down to the tram at the airport are at or around gate 19, so I was at least going to be close to the entrance down, but I still had to get two concourses over and up the stairs to the gate. Assuming I even got to the airport before the Salt Lake City flight left.

As luck would have it, when I landed in Atlanta (at 10:30) I got a text from my Dad saying that the Salt Lake Flight had been delayed until 11:00, but that I was listed. Adrenaline pumping, I grabbed my bags and waited as the front half of the airplane got off (they'd made that announcement about letting people rushing to connections off first, but people hardly ever seem to listen to that) and then rushed off, running down to the stairs and all the way between two concourses to the D concourse, up the escalator and to me gate. Glistening with sweat, I looked up at the board and saw that my name had been removed much farther down the priority list as they'd been calling for me and, since I hadn't showed up, had been clearing other people, but there were still two seats and I was number one on the list. I waited at the desk for a minute and then the agent grabbed my ticket, wrote a seat number on it and I was on. Amazing. I don't think I've ever been so happy to get on a flight.

And then I arrived in Salt Lake around 1:00, Brandon picked me and took me back to his place and I drove home and quickly went to bed. Happy to be there and exhausted.

It was a wonderful weekend full of wonderful things. A little crazy at the end, but I'm so glad we got to go. As usual, there are of course more pictures (and videos) over on facebook. :)