Last week was fantastic. I went home for a week that was jam-packed with food, friends and fun. Below is a quick pictorial snapshot of my week.
I went straight from the airport on Saturday to this place:
With this buddy:
It was chilly but a fresh churro, hot chocolate, a blow out game in my team's favor and enough layers to make me look pregnant helped keep me warm.
After the game we took a self-guided tour of the re-modeled library. It was beautiful but I was a little disappointed that my favorite study corner with the big comfy leather chairs that were perfect for curling up with a pile of history books was redecorated to look like this:
It is now the least cozy corner of the library. Honestly, where were chairs like this when I was in college?
Oh, and how do kids these days accomplish anything? Every kid we saw was on YouTube or Facebook when we walked through the library.
On Sunday, after slogging through one of my sister's "easy runs" that involved one almost vertical hill and a very long gradual hill that left me with sore calves for three days, I stole a friend away from her family and jumped on a very small plane for a side-trip.
To St George! To visit my house and to try and coax stories out of my grandparents about their courtship. By the way, you only have about one more year left to land on that skinny little bluff in St George and feel like you are somewhere remote and exotic. After that they will have a fancy new airport that probably has more than one tiny runway on a bluff.
After hiding out in the kitchen from my grandparents' home teachers, enduring a conference call for work and paying taxes on my well (after deciphering the directions offered up by my grandparents that involved a lot of "you know where the old store was, right?" in place of street names), Emily and I were lucky enough to drive off in a nearly mint condition 1984 (or '86) Buick Park Avenue in search of adventure.
Before the adventure part started (or maybe it was the start of the adventure), we stopped for giant mugs of Diet Coke at a surprisingly delicious restaurant in Virgin, Utah (uh, yes, there is a place called Virgin, Utah and it is essentially the gateway to Zion . . . fill in your own jokes).
I tried to remember the name of the restaurant so I could recommend it since the fish and chips and nachos were both excellent but I forget. Emily? Any chance you remember? It is the place that sells bumbleberry pie and looks like this on the inside. (bumbleberry pie is amazing in case you were wondering, we had to practice our pie eating skills for thanksgiving anyway so we took one home to my grandparents)
Before long we were drinking in views like this:
I wanted to hike Angel's Landing (that peak in the mid-ground above with the steep slide to the left) but decided not to kill Emily. Or to have her kill me off out of frustration for tricking her into such a hike. Besides, my calves were sore from my run. So instead, we started at a trail head I hiked Thanksgiving week 1993. Yup, my memory for dates is that ridiculous. We started with a short walk to Weeping Rock and then I talked Emily into hiking to Hidden Canyon.
Somewhere along the way I shrunk or Emily grew since we are normally about the same height . . . or so I have always thought.
It was a gorgeous day and a beautiful hike but Emily opted out when the trail involved chains and looked like this:
Am I the only person who gets giddy and excited when the trail turns to a thin cliff edge with chains?
Maybe I just love it because the reward is a view like this:
Seriously, look how happy this made me!
Emily also indulged me and agreed to the short walk to the mouth of the Narrows because I do not believe one can visit Zion without making the pilgrimage. And one day I will convince someone to hike the Narrows with me.
We saw some wild turkeys gloating over immunity to turkey day by virtue of their luck of being protected in a national park.
We also made a quick drive over to visit Checkerboard Mesa just as the sun was setting:
How can you not be jealous of our sweet ride?
I really wish I could be back in Zion right now so I can be looking at views like this again:
But we had to hop back into the tiny plane and head back to Salt Lake:
Where I ran around visiting people, listening in on work conference calls and catching up with old friends before settling down to an evening of pie making with my sister and mom on Wednesday night.
Thanksgiving morning I questioned my sanity when I got up early not to cook the turkey but to run a 6k with my sister and her husband. A 6K up City Creek Canyon which means straight up hill for about 2 miles at an elevation that is approximately 4,700 feet above my customary sea level jogging path along the Hudson River. Going up, I had to walk a lot. And I kept chanting Ralph Wiggim's line "It tastes like burning" since the air quality was pretty subpar. But the way down? That part was awesome. Nothing hurt except for a minor side-ache near the end and since the course finished in Memory Grove I was able to remind myself that I have walked this course countless times with my dog Malcolm when I lived in the Avenues in college, after a fight with my boyfriend late at night (uh, sorry mom, I was young and dumb), again with Malcolm when I lived behind the capitol. I knew how far I needed to last so I managed to keep a steady pace despite the lack of sign postings and despite the fact that I left my nike-plus thing at my sister's that morning. I finished with a time of 41 minutes and change which was better than I had hoped for all those points when I was walking up.
Of course, after it was over, I was just excited to finish prepping our Thanksgiving feast!
My mom, my sister and I raced around the kitchen for several hours while my parents made a couple of trips back to their house as well. My dad carved the turkey:
And Jaymon laughed at us:
The food was delicious:
But I must say the people were my favorite part:
Especially these two:
Friday we braved Black Friday with an afternoon trip to the outlet stores in Park City where the crowds weren't too crazy but we stumbled into some 50% off stores that offered great bargains. That evening I also got to meet Michele's one week old little one Joshua who was enchanting (and hungry!) and eat some of her family's leftovers. Sad to say I totally forgot my camera so I don't have any pictures of cute little Josh.
I bookended my trip with another football game. My sister and I weren't the only ones wearing red but we were definitely in the minority and were rivals with our mother and uncle in blue.
We weren't far from the band and I cheered loud enough to embarrass my sister and my mom and that is all I will say about the game which dragged on for far too long into the cold evening and ended sourly.
I jumped on a red-eye flight that night and spent my last vacation day sleeping and unpacking. And today, I want to go back and do it all over again.