Monday, July 26, 2010

A post, not for the queasy. Ali Ward, do not click on this! You are warned.

For the record, I would like to take a moment to post about our roommates. Don't get me wrong -- I'm extremely grateful to live where we do. It works out great for us. We just have some uninvited visitors, for which there are 13 traps (that I can think of) to catch them in. A few weeks ago, I was typing away at my homework, when I saw a nice black spider crawl along the corner of the floor, right into a trap, turn around, and walk right back out of it. I decided it was time to lay out a few new ones. We've already caught a few spiders in them. I've smashed 4 spiders in the past 2 days. That's what happens when you live in a basement apartment on Earth. Click on the picture for a good portrait of our friends.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yellowstone and such

July 17, 2010 – Departure & Bear Lake

The original plan:  End up in Jenny Lake by the end of the day.  School happened instead.  We left late and spontaneously decided to stop at Bear Lake and camp there.  Driving through the tourist traps, I remembered coming there as a kid, and going to some cave around there.  The Garmin gave us directions and we set up camp in a campground on the way to the cave.  Katie managed use her feminine charm to persuade the teenage boys employed there to let us jump in on the last, and already filled to capacity tour of the day.  Pictures pretty much tell the rest of the story, other than the awkward teenage tour guide, who at the furthest point in the cave of course turned off the lights for us to get a sense of the darkness we were in, and then proceeded to tell us “Even thought you don't have the use of your eyes, you can still feel and hear and taste the walls and air around because those senses have been heightened.”  Idunno – Personally, I'd rather rely on my eyes to get me back to the cave entrance, rather than sniffing my way.

We read calvin and hobbes and the bathroom reader before going to bed.  A bird very unexpectedly bombed our table, narrowly missing the camera, and partially hitting the calvin-and-hobbes book.  There's a missing chunk out of one of the pages.  Than you, mystery bird, for not having better aim than you did.  So Katie couldn't sleep at our first campground.  I slept intermittently, and at 1am, we got up.  We stood outside of the tent and watched a pretty spectacular view of the stars, shooting and otherwise.  As we talked, I kept hearing noises and sticks breaking.  Not wanting to freak Katie out about noises in the woods and keep her awake longer, I just ignored them – until I couldn't any more.  I grabbed Katie's flashlight and turned it on.  There were two big eyes reflecting the light back at me, and to sum it up, it kinda freaked me out.  Katie and I spent the next little while in the car, looking for a beast to implicate.  No luck.  In the process, the inside handle of the car door fell subject to a door opening attempt while the door was locked.  We currently can't open the door from the inside any more unless we roll down the window.  We went back to bed, not knowing if we were going to get torn by a she-bear, or if we were just being watched by by a deer.  To justify our little 1am episode, I like to think it was a bear.  Yes, we narrowly escaped death by a bear.  Or it decided we weren't tasty enough.  Or that I'm too tough to mess with.  Yeah. That one.

July 18, 2010 – Grand Tetons, Jenny Lake

Okay, okay, we didn't get to actually camp at Jenny Lake, but we drove there from our spot.  We took the hike recommended by my mom and dad along the south side of the lake and into the canyon.  I'd tell you that it's pretty, and the pictures don't do it justice – but you already know that.  Check out the pictures anyway.  They describe it better.

July 19, 2010 – Yellowstone

We grabbed some wi-fi in the grand tetons before we left for yellowstone so I could turn in my last assignment for the semester.  We went to yellowstone.  Oh, you know: mud pots, hot water springs. Standing in the crater of one of the world's largest volcanos, with active smelly things all around us.  We actually got a shower in the Grand Tetons, so we weren't part of the active smelly things.  We went to “the grand canyon of the yellowstone.”  We got some ice cream because I won a bet (Okay, we just wanted ice cream).  We saw a bear and a couple of cubs on the way back to camp.  We saw a big elk buck right on the side of the road pretty close to camp.  The camp itself, well, lets just say that we had it reserved for 3 nights, but canceled the last two of them.  Sadly, it was more like sleeping in a no-tree parking lot, with car alarms going off through the night and everything.  Oh, and lots of campfire smoke from the densely populated campfires.  We did go to a ranger presentation there about the bears of the park.  Then we slept there, and not much else. 

July 20, 2010 – Yellowstone and Montana

We woke up, packed up, went West to Old Faithful, stopping on the way for little side-trips.  At this point, we were homeless, not knowing where we were going to sleep that night.  We headed out to West Yellowstone and into Montana for a play there called “Foreigner.”  Pretty funny.  A nice bit of entertainment.  We decided we had seen what we wanted to see in the park, and it was okay to go home.  So we started driving toward home from Montana.  Ug.  The Garmin said we'd be home at 2am.  I didn't like that plan.  In an effort to get a shower and a better sleep for Katie, we made calls for hotels along our route home.  There was one suite available and a couple of smoking rooms in Rexburg.  Instead, we just drove south into Idaho, and found a government campsite in a national forest somewhere along the road.  Among the campsites, it was probably the best one on the trip.  Nobody was around us, it was warm enough to be okay with shorts as we sat around the fire, there weren't many bugs, and there was no wind, so we didn't have to keep switching spots around the campfire to avoid smoke.  We cooked hot-dogs and s'mores, and I had two avocados!

July 21, 2010 – Home

We woke up, and because we cut our trip a little short, we had extra food fixin's.  We cooked “hobo dinners” for breakfast Tastey.  We then cooked rolls on a stick and filled them with cream cheese and jam. Tastey again!  We stopped by BYU-Idaho for a tour of my old dorms, which is now some instructor's office.  And yeah, it's strange to think that I'm actually a current student of that school, but I haven't seen it for, oh, 8 years or so. On the way home, we sang to classic rock, and I typed this on the laptop on which I turned in homework previously on the trip.  We're stinky, but still eating home-made oatmeal cookies.  Life is good.

Monday, July 12, 2010


My sister, Alison was in town at the end of May - beginning of June, and she made a super cute baby blanket for her little girl due in October. I thought it looked like a fun summer project - so I dragged my other sister, Anne, out to go fabric shopping with me. I originally went looking for fabric that would be unisex for whatever our first baby ends up being..... whenever that happens. But none of the fabric at the store really struck me, except for the "Americana" stuff - so that's what I bought. Not really babish, but I like it. And so the cutting and sewing began!

I spent approximately 6-8 hours cutting (I kind of stopped keeping track), but had my mom's rotary cutter to do it, so it wasn't as bad as having to do it all by hand with scissors. Then I spent a few hours getting the pieces stacked up perfectly and pin it right (the front, the back, and the middle). But once that was done, it really didn't take long to sew it all up. Then came the couple of hours cutting the seams.

This is by far the most painful part - literally.

I remember my other sister, Sarah (wow... they are all mentioned in this post), making me a fleece throw with the cut edges back in high school. She complained after doing the cutting that the side of her thumb was numb for days afterward. I understand more fully what she meant now. The side of my thumb is still numb and tingly if I press it - and I finished cutting about 2 days ago.

All in all I'd say it took me 18ish hours to make - I dunno, I didn't do it all at once (sorry for leaving the floor a mess with it all laid out in order for a few days, Brett).

So that was my summer project, and it's only mid-July... Good thing I have extra scraps and a desire to make tossable bean bags for school... and maybe a table runner...