Friday, August 31, 2012

black sheep cafe

is the best new restaurant in this little utah town.
it's native american southwestern fusion food and it is
marvelous! the ambiance was stylish and hip, 
and i felt that our cool points mounted just being in there.

we went there last night to celebrate our two month wedding anniversary. it's fun to celebrate even the smallest milestones. plus, we are so pleased that we are close to beating that kardashian girl on her seventy-two day marriage. 

the catus pear drink was as good as it was pink. 

his: chiminchanga (or, however that is spelled)
me: the goat cheese burger (with portebello mushrooms, roasted red pepper, arugula, and the cheese is mixed in the meat). it was, quite honestly, the best burger I have ever eaten. and, I'm an American.
oh, and it came with sweet potato fries. how could that not be a great meal?

Monday, August 27, 2012

today is the day that school started

but, please, my head is still in summer mode.

I surprised Phil by picking him up from the lab last Wednesday with the car entirely packed with camping gear to go on a little overnight trip in the American Fork canyon. We had wanted to go on one more camping trip this summer, and Phil thought that we wouldn't be able to. False. He was so surprised, and we had a blast: we made a fire, cooked tinfoil dinners, and roasted bananas with candy bars inside of them. It rained most of the night so we stayed in our tent and watched some episodes of a favorite show on his computer. We really roughed it. 

we played tennis a lot this summer. we aren't very beautiful after a few sets (unless red and sweaty = beauty), but we are getting so much better together. phil even won one game in a set! 

And we went to the reception of this Scandinavian couple whom we love! Jacky (from Sweden - who is my current Swedish teacher!) and Dane (a Danish teacher) also met in the student instructor's office and began dating before Phil and I. What a funny place this office is...
We are so happy for them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

summertime memories

school is edging upon us. in a week and a half it'll be in full swing. but, in fact, it seems to have already begun since i am sitting in the student instructors' office right now finishing the french 102 syllabus. fun, fun, fun. i thought i'd take a pit stop and write down a few summer memories.

here they go. here's to the best first summer together:
  • ummm. GETTING MARRIED! it was pretty nice. seriously though, it's still a little strange to think that we are, you know, married! but, we love it. a lot. one perk of this union is that we get to:
  • stay up all night! am I a 5th grader again? i love late nights (but not early mornings. problem.). people have asked us if we have "gotten into the marriage habit" of going to bed at 10pm. no sir. phil and I thoroughly enjoy the not-having-to-go-home part of the night especially when before the evil curfew alarm would burn our ears with it's ugly beeping. it's like a sleepover with your bf every night. 

  •  eating more healthy and exercising? well, you'd think I would have done more of both of these before, but somehow knowing that you are partly responsible for someone else's health makes you, in turn, more healthy. well, that's the theory. it also seems to make you eat about the same portion as that person (and I really shouldn't eat as much as a boy), but that's another story. anyway, we started training for a half marathon, but that ended nearly as soon as it began. i just have no endurance for running. so, we play tennis. so much so that we'll need to find a new sport; phil is getting too good...
  • as for eating, phil and I got this blender called the NINJA! for a wedding present from my brother & sister-in-law, and although we love our other do-da's, we reaaaaaally love the NINJA! I can't even write it without putting it in caps with an exclamation point; it is just that good. I mean, holy spinach-mango-strawberry-pineapple-eat-you-every-night good. and, since we are on the subject of food, let's talk about cooking. I cook, people! this summer we used the crockpot for the first time, made meatballs, pizzas, sweet breads and regular breads. phil made this great spaghetti sauce a few times, and we have been using the excellent spices that people have bestowed upon us. all in all, it may still be on the simple end of cooking, but it's a definite improvement from my staple meal last year of macaroni noodles, ragu sauce and peas. yum...

  •  trips. We've been a bit "partout" this summer, and it's been an adventure: the West Coast, San Francisco, Zion National Park, Snowbird, Phil's parents' house, the grocery store across the street, Bed, Bath & Beyond, the movie theater... I should stop. 

  •  the OLYMPICS! again, caps and exclamation point necessary. they were inspiring and epic and... tear-jerking?? yes. but somehow I also found myself thinking (irrationally, of course), "I could do that!" I mean, speed-walking? I've got hips that can fly. and, the uneven bars can't be that difficult, right? phil may or may not have walked into the living room one morning to find me practicing the end-of-presentation-hands-in-the-air gymnastics moment. you know, like when a gymnast finishes a routine and nearly dislocates her back (in order to stick her chest out) and then throws her hands in a V-shape in the air. it was a little embarrassing...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

a wedding down south

remember how I went to a good friend's wedding last weekend?
well, it was gorgeous. and, the weather was hot.
and, phil locked the car keys in the car.
but, there was a retired locksmith that came by and did it for 
FREE. my favorite price.

anyway, here are some photos from the day. 

We felt like it was our wedding day again.
I said that to the groom's mother and said that we got married a month ago 
and she responded with surprise, "oh, you were that wedding."
(Jeff and Harmony were there when I had
a certain inopportune fainting spell on my wedding day and 
they must have told her about it.) We both laughed and I told her the whole story.

still going strong and in loooooooove.

our first guest

The other night was a semi-big moment for our little house: our first guest came to dinner. 
His name is Crystel ("not crystal," he noted) and he is from Cameroon. He is studying electrical engineering at a Texas university, came to BYU for the summer on a physics grant, and works with Phil in an underground physics lab (sounds secretive, huh?).

Best thing that we found out about Crystel during dinner (besides that he speaks about 5 tribal languages besides his native French and his excellent English)? Crystel is getting married in December to a girl who has waited for him in Cameroon for 4 years!! Try waiting for your missionary, TWICE. And, his finacee's name? Crystelle. Same pronunciation.
Crystel and Crystelle. I wonder what they'll name their children?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Zion Narrows!

Phil and I have just arrived home from an adventure! This past weekend we went down to Harmony & Jeff's wedding down at the St. George temple. In order to save on a little money (for accommodations) and to make the most of our time down there we camped at Zion National Park in order to do the top-down Zion Narrows hike on Saturday. We decided a few weeks ago to do it like this, but the backcountry permits for the hike were already sold out online. We had to apply in a lottery online for the extra 16 passes, and we found out on Thursday that our application was picked. We drove down on Thursday and camped out that night. On Friday morning, Phil and I attended the wedding of my old mission companion at the Saint George temple. Everything and everyone was beautiful. After the wedding, we headed back to the park and did a pretty intense uphill hike to Scout's landing, which is near the famous Angel's Landing. It had a breathtaking view (literally - we were breathing hard by the time we reached the top of the trail!). Also, this is so random, but Zion National Park is like the top French tourist spot (or really, any European country) in the USA. I heard hundreds of French people on the shuttles, on the hike, on the river and even took a picture of a sweet Belgium couple. Everytime we heard a language all I had to do was look at Phil and say "Yep" and he would know that it was a French speaker. Besides French, we heard Swedes, Norwegians, lots of Germans (not the prettiest language...), Russian, Poles, Italians, Spanish-speakers, Portugeuse, Indians, and a few that we couldn't pin (we only knew that Poles because they told us they were from Poland when they asked us to take their picture).

on the river

Anyway, on to our real adventure: the Narrows top-down hike! I have done the hike 3 other times when I was younger, and it's grueling. It's 16 miles and usually takes about 9-11 hours to do (if you go slow and make a few stops). It follows the Virgin River down to the Temple of Sinawava, which is a spot that comes right after the Narrows where the river opens up and where the hike ends and a shuttle takes tourists down to the Visitor's Center. The hike on the river twists and turns through the towering slot canyons that are absolutely stunning, having been formed over thousands of years by the flowing river. You hike the trail by crossing the river (about 30 - 50 feet wide) all the time in order to get to a little dry ground and hike that until you need to cross again. The river and sides are covered in river rock, which is fine when they are dry, but when in the water the rocks are like, as my dad says, "greased up bowling balls." Plus, this time, the water was a murky brown-orange color (Phil said that he wanted Indian food because the water looked the color of chicken tiki masala) due to a lot of flash flooding this past week that caused a lot of the red rock and sandstone silt to fill the river and that made crossing the river even more dangerous because it was impossible to see the rocks we were stepping on and the depth of the water (more than once we went down unexpectedly to our chest). Usually people use walking sticks, but we didn't and we were surprisingly agile in the water. Phil fell maybe 3 times. I was a bit less stable and fell about 10 times, bruising up my knees and ankles nicely. But, that comes with the hike. The thing that makes the 16 miles bearable besides the INCREDIBLE natural beauty of the towering canyons and the flora and trees that grow below, is that the hike is a gentle downhill the entire time; the trail is the river. 

So, Saturday morning we packed up the car and grabbed our Camelbacks prepared with water, fruit snacks, granola bars, duct tape (for our feet and possible blisters), and the special  "poop bags" that the Visitor's Center said that we had to bring in order to "pack out" any personal items. Nice. The weather was good, which was important since there is often fatal flash flooding in the Narrows part (a 3 miles strand near the end where it is just river and two sheer 1000 foot rock faces about 30 feet apart) We took a special shuttle up with another small group of hikers. We sat in the back of the 14 seat van, trying to listen to our driver rattle on about the canyons and the hike. We tried to sleep a little bit on the way up to the trailhead, but at one point the road wouldn't let us sleep. If it hadn't been for seat belts there would have been a few repeats of that one scene in "Cast Away" when the airplane hits turbulence that sends one of the workers to the ceiling of the plane headfirst. 

At the trailhead (which edges a ranch with lots of cows for the first 3 miles before a descent into the canyon following the river), Philip and I were out fast. It was good not to be in a group bigger than 2 (as I have done previous times) because we were able to go quickly and not stop. We were following the fresh footprints of a group of people for a while on the trail (which helped us be sure of our path when we came to a few forks in the road) until we caught up to them and passed them about 2.5 hours in. They were surprised at how fast we were going.

in a more narrow part of the canyon
 looking up!

so happy.

this is one clean river entering into the murky river.

a beautiful waterfall

in the Narrows!

look at how closed in it is between those two 1000 foot high walls

What was nice about the hike is how good we felt all the way through. We ate along the way, and we didn't stop at all except for when Phil needed to change his socks. Mostly we didn't do that in order to stave off the fatigue. By the end we were hurting, but we did the hike in 6.5 hours - which is a lot faster than I've ever done. We were stiff this morning trying to get out of bed, but we were so happy to have done it.

we finished!

happy one month!

I am in love with this man.
This week, Phil and I celebrated our one month anniversary of marriage (july 30th). I went to my early morning tutoring appointment and then raced off to Starbucks to get Phil's new favorite drink, Caramel Apple Cider, as a little surprise. But little to my surprise, I came home to a clean house and a husband-made breakfast on the table: rice pudding, toast with raspberry jam, mango slices, orange juice which I supplemented with my little offering of Starbucks. It was a good start to another great day together. Plus, any day that ends with us glued to the TV watching the Olympics (thanks to our new nightly installment on the couches at Phil's family's house) and seeing women's gymnastics win gold (I may have shed just a few tears of joy) is a good day worth remembering.

the beard

Philip recently shaved. This would be no big news, especially for a male BYU student, unless he hadn't done it for a while. And, he hadn't. During our week at Snowbird, Phil let the razor take a break and after our week of vacation I asked him to keep growing it, curious to see how it would look. So, he has been cultivating his little face garden (and keeping it trim - no total mountain man here) for the past two weeks right up to Harmony & Jeff's wedding this last Friday.

Here are some final moment pictures before the beard went down the bathroom sink.