July 27, 2014

Bear Lake 2014

Once again, it's time for the annual Bear Lake Family Reunion. Since Liam had to work, it was only Tomas, Katie, and I. We took the typical route up through Evanston. As we passed through the small town of Randolph, I noticed that after many years of making this trip, the Wilford Woodruff home was open for tours. We decided to stop. Unfortunately, there's not a whole heck of a lot to see. All the stuff inside is not original to the cabin. The volunteer sitting at the table inside didn't seem to know very much about the home or even Wilford Woodruff, 4th president of the LDS Church. We learned more from reading the plaques. I still had several questions which I guess I'll research later on the internet. Anways, next time we drive through Randolph, we can say, "Been there, done that."


I brought my camera along with all kinds of good intentions. But, I didn't really take many pictures.

Here's a view of our group on the beach. Aunt Joyce's beach house is coming along nicely. It's the one on the right side of the photo with the lawn and green roof. We did the usual--spent a lot of time down at the beach, got caught up with what everyone's doing, played games, and watched an outdoor movie.


Katie and Tomas spent the better half of a morning building a sand castle. I helped a little with shell collection.


I overheard Tomas tell Katie's cousin's wife he wanted to be an architect. I can see it.

I love this picture.
Tomas took a kayak out for a spin. Conan the Scottish Terrier decided to join him. I think I need one of these dogs.


Tomas then got to give Isaac a ride into shore.


Later, I took the kayak out. Jon and Nathan thought they would be funny and do a close drive by with the wave runner and splash me. However, the wave they created was so huge, I capsized. I was not that amused. I did get a little revenge the next day. I wanted to douse Jon with a bucket of water while he slept, but I decided that might be too mean, so I just threw a large bowl of water in his face as he came out of the condo. I also hid some dirty laundry left by a previous condo occupant in Jon's stuff. I wonder how long it will take for him to find it. I still don't think I've gotten totally even.

Here are Isaak, Nathan, and Tomas playing in the water.


Katie and I took the row boat out with Tomas, Isaac, and Nathan. I only had my 50mm prime lens so I couldn't zoom out any more, but I still like the photo. They're looking pretty cool.

Their future's so bright...
One of the top things on my list to photograph was clouds. The Bear Lake area usually has some amazing clouds--the kind if you were to paint them exactly the way they looked, everyone would say they looked fake. Well, almost the entire time we were there, the skies were completely blue with just a few wispy cloud streaks. One evening, however, we had a beautiful sunset. On either side of these clouds the sky was empty, but it made a nice shot.


On our final day, we were just driving around exploring the tiny town of Garden City. We came upon a go-kart race track. Since we had some time to kill before lunch, Tomas and I decided to try it out.


Here Tomas is swerving back and  forth not letting anyone pass.
After playing at the race track, we made our yearly pilgrimage to Le Beaus. Last year, Tomas and I decided to try their competitor across the street. They didn't even come close to matching the amazingness that is Le Beaus, so we're back.

Tomas decided to be unconventional and get a root beer float instead of a shake. This looked really good to me. It's on my list for next year.

Katie went with the traditional raspberry shake and I had a chocolate raspberry.
Next year, I'm not quite sure what's going to happen. The stake wants me to attend weeklong Boy Scout Wood Badge. Of course, it conflicts with the Bear Lake week. I don't really want to go to Wood Badge and haven't committed to it yet. I'm hoping a good excuse will come along. I do have a milestone birthday at the same time. Maybe that will work.

July 20, 2014

Utah Shakespeare Festival 2014

As combined Christmas and Mothers Days gifts, we took Katie to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City to see a couple of shows.

I'm always amazed that Cedar has such a spectacular Shakespeare festival. Cedar City seems to me like one of those towns like where I grew up--you only like it if you grew up there. Granted, I have never visited any of the state and national parks nearby.

We stayed in a cheap chain motel which was clean, had a pool, and offered a decent continental breakfast.


The festival is currently building a new theater and festival complex. The old Adams Theater will be replaced. I find this incredibly sad, but I guess they need something larger with more technological upgrades, among other things. I didn't read anywhere that this theater would actually be torn down. I hope not. I think it would be great to use it for their education program and maybe put on smaller productions there. Katie and I will always have some great memories of this theater. So, I took some photos.




One of the great memories we will have of this theater is that this is where we saw A Comedy of Errors. This was probably the absolute best play I have ever seen. Simply amazing. It was set during the Gold Rush. I don't know if this was an original idea, but it was genius. I was also very surprised how I could actually understand the text better with the characters doing their southern and wild west accents. There was not a single weak actor in the group. If I could, I'd head back down to Cedar to see it again. I also got a big kick out of watching Tomas laugh so hard he couldn't breathe.

The other play we saw was Into the Woods. This was also a very strong production. Since it's one of my favorite Sondheim's shows, I've seen it several times and know the words and music fairly well. I had a hard time not comparing different actors to ones I've seen in other productions. But, in this production, I really liked Jack and his mother.

Some day I hope to be wealthy enough that Katie and I can go down to the festival and see all six shows, go to all the lectures and discussions, stay in a nice hotel, and eat at some good restaurants.

This is the set for A Comedy of Errors. Once again, brilliant!

The morning after, we attended a couple of the lectures and discussions. We got to hear from the man who played the wolf and the girl who played Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. It was very interesting to learn some of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Katie reading a book outside the theater waiting for one of the lectures to begin.

Little Red, the Wolf, and the moderator

I found a guy to take our photo with my cell phone. It's a bit grainy, but I like it. I can see it being used in this year's Christmas card.


Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodbye till next year!

July 04, 2014

Freedom Run 2014

Tomas wanted to do the Freedom Festival 5K again this year. We began training the month before. We worked ourselves up to running around the outside path of Nielson Grove Park. Each lap was one kilometer.

Here are a few observations with photos thrown in.

Observation #1
Tomas and I are training for a 5K. It's been a very long time since I've done any kind of exercise. Every morning, Tomas leaves me in the dust while I slowly chug along. I've got the running motion down, but the ducks waddle past me at a quicker pace. Today, one of the exercise regulars at the park shared this quote with me. I like it.

Observation #2
Notes from this morning's training run:
1. In honor of today's USA vs. Germany match in the World Cup, I ran 90 minutes without stopping. If any player passes out, I will completely understand.
2. Hey you, 80 year-old man who lapped me! I coming after you. (in about a month)
3. To the ants who were out swarming on the sidewalk--I'm sorry, but I think I squished a couple hundred of your friends and relatives. To the gnats who were swarming in the air--I'm sorry, but I think I ate a couple hundred of your friends and family.
A beautiful day for a 5K. We went to the Balloon Festival the day before, but the weather kind of spoiled things. However, we got to see a bunch of balloons the next day at the start of the race.



One of our favorite things about this year's race was that we got these awesomely fashionable socks.
At the beginning of the race. I think I'm ready for this.

Observation #3
Notes from the Freedom Run 2014:
1. I ran my fastest 5K ever. No, I won't share the time. Trust me, it's still a snail's pace.
2. I saw the 80 year-old man who's been lapping me during my training runs in the park. He beat me, but I kept him in my sights.
3. I beat a certain former professor which brought me great joy (I'll repent of that later.)
4. It is not wise to have an Indian feast the night before a race.
5. My inspiration, motivation, and encouragement came from the row of missionaries giving high 5s, Flo Rida, Annie Lennox, the German soccer team, and Katie.

Hooray! I didn't die!

July 03, 2014

Balloon Festival 2014

Last year, the Balloon Festival was cancelled all three days due to weather. We thought we'd give it another go this year and invited Grandma Jo to join us.

It was a little too early for the boys, so they took a short nap before the fun began.


Here are the boys and Grandma Jo in front of one of the inflating balloons.


There were about twenty balloons.


However once most of the balloons were inflated and ready to take off, a strong wind picked up. One balloon got to launch before everything was called off.

Dang it.

We'll try again next year.

But, the pig balloon did cooperate and pose for this shot.



July 01, 2014

Slip Slidin' Away

While our McCanada friends were visiting, we invited the McProvo and the D families over for a giant slip-n-slide party at the park. It was the perfect afternoon.

Here's most of the group.


Here the McProvo boys train slides down.


Will hitches a ride on Maddie.


Will conquering the hill.


Sebi plays a pretty sweet air guitar as he slides by.


Joss, flying down the hill and ready for take off.


Rob, the cool uncle, takes his nephew, Eli, down.


I wish the photo showed how epic Maddie and Liam's crash landing was.


And the McCanada boys–first up Dallin


Followed by Trent.


And the cheese of the bunch, Kelton, brings up the rear.


Tomas' friend Jeffrey and his family also came.


A brother and sister train.


And the friend train.


A bunch of the kids went down together. There was quite the pile up at the end.


Tomas probably shouldn't try running down the slide.


The boys and I finally made it down near the end. All the jiggling on the way down made me painfully award of muscles I didn't know I had the following day.