Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trying to Embrace Winter

 Friday was an adventure up at Aspen Grove. A randomly connected group of us went cross-country skiing, and I call it an adventure since most of us had never been before. And when I say randomly connected, I mean it. Ready, try to follow this: On the left is Neal, who went to Jerusalem with us this summer. His date is Grace (also Jeru) who is next to Michael's sister Rachel (Jeru again). Then Lauren (Jeru) with her date Dave, who is in my ward. Dave is roommates with Jordan, who is also Michael's friend from freshman year, who came on a date with Kimberly, my roommate. (Kimberly and Jordan: not pictured. They were too busy being good at cross-country skiing). Then Michael, and me, and Tyler, Rachel's date, who went to Jerusalem as well.

Did you follow that?
 Cross-country skiing stole any sense of coordination I thought I had. The skis are super thin, and I never really did figure out the technique of slowing down or turning. You know that whole pizza thing they teach you in elementary school? It wasn't working too well. And sometimes when we went uphill I would go uncontrollably backwards. Michael would kindly stick his pole back and pull me the rest of the way. It was greatly appreciated.

We got the hang of it by the end, though. I even made it down the steepest part of the course without falling my last time around. I turned around to brag to Michael, but he was coming at me at full speed with no sign of stopping. We collided into a small mountain-ish pile of snow. Would've been a soft landing if Michael's ski wasn't between me and the ground. I'm so proud of my bruise though! It's all sorts of colors. Too bad it's not in an appropriate place for me to prove that to you. Just take my word for it.

I was so glad Kimberly came with us! These days I feel like I only see her when we're running or falling asleep, which means we don't get to catch up enough. I'm no conversationalist when we're making each other run mile after mile in Provo's freeeezing weather, and I make no sense when I'm tired. No sense at all.

On our way back to the car we stumbled upon a Youth Conference dance at one of the lodges. Kimberly and I limited ourselves to two songs, then we decided the leaders were onto us. We just couldn't pass by a perfectly good dance party, even though the average age was 14.

I guess the tables have turned -- the last dance I went to at Aspen Grove was with Ali and her roommates when I was still in high school. It was fun to tell the boys I danced with that I was still a senior when they would ask me what my major was. Maybe not as fun for them though.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Boston. Finally, Boston.

I did actually make it to Beantown for New Year's...after failed attempt #4. The flight I was on that Wednesday night was canceled again, but not because of weather this time. Apparently Delta just could not find a pilot. There were a lot of people on my flight who had been waiting all week to get to Boston, so I felt bad for the nice Delta ladies that were taking the hit for it all. But still, missing pilot? They put all the passengers of my flight in a hotel for the night and made us a new flight for 6 am sharp Thursday morning. It was kind of fun. I jumped on my bed.

When I got into Boston I changed my flight so I could stay there until the last possible minute Monday night. Then we hit up some candle pin bowling! It's like real bowling, but much less satisfying. Even if you send your shotput-sized ball right down the middle, it might only knock down three of the ten straight sticks. Bogus. 

The shoes are definitely the best part. I wanted to keep them. I would wear these regularly if they didn't live in Boston still.
I can't be in Boston too long without a sandwich at Al's, so we hit it up the very next day! Go there. Get a chicken salad sandwich. It's famous. It should be more famous.
This is outside the Garden right before our CELTICS game! Best Christmas present ever :) Thanks Ali! Ironically, they played the Hornets, so I've seen New Orleans play twice this year. And ironically, the Celtics lost...even though they've only done that three times at home. Well, four, after they play the Jazz tomorrow.
We had a little bit of time before the game so we hit up Modern Pastry for a Canoli. These things are growing on me. Then we buried my water bottle in the snow so we could have a drink out of it after the game. It brought back memories of when Ali would do that on campus my freshman year with egg nog. She's so resourceful.
The boys! Shaq is so big. SO big. We were pretty high up, but he still looked big. (Seriously, big). There were no uncooperative Hornets fans providing sideshows at this game. Ali and I danced our way onto the Jumbotron though! We weren't going to stop until it happened. Our neighbors were very supportive. "You go girls, get us on TV!"
After the game we went to look at the ice sculptures and skaters in Boston Common. The fireworks were beautiful! And Boston had record high temps for New Year's, it was just wonderful. I'm carrying the Celtics shirt I bought in this picture because stuffing it inside my coat only lasted for so long. If you do that, it falls out and then you step on it and wonder what crazy person left their shirt on the ground. Then a man behind you tells you that you dropped your shirt, and you realize that crazy person is you. Whoops.

We made it home in time to officially "stay in" for New Year's Eve, because years of experience has taught us that's the best way to do things. We grabbed Thai food on the way, then got our annual dance party started. Highlights included learning Jessie, Lisa, and Kelly's timeless music video routine in the emotional Saved by the Bell caffeine pills episode.
The real crazy people in this post, however, are these guys...These Bostonians are on the beach on New Year's Day, ready to take a dive into the Atlantic. Who would do that?
Actually, we couldn't resist. I mean, with record high temperatures, it was the year to do it right? So we jumped out of bed, bundled up, and drove to Castle Island. Here we are, ready for Atlantic Dive 1102! We were going for 2011. Rachel told us we did it right, but apparently all three of us are dyslexic.
It was fun watching each group run into the water because we were avoiding doing it ourselves :) Finally, we had to make our dash. Weirdest Coldest Worst Strangest feeling ever. Ali dove under and I knew I had to do it, even though all my survival instincts were against the idea. So I dove.
Then I lost my (well, Ali's) shoe. I remember thinking, "Dang, too bad her shoe is lost forever" because the alternative was going farther out to find the shoe. That didn't even cross my mind as an option because survival instincts were still my dominant thought process. But Ali kept a cooler head through it all and pulled me out to rescue my (her) shoe.
Surprisingly, when we got out, it wasn't even cold anymore. I'm going to attribute this to numbness. We walked the mile back to our car with just a towel, and it didn't even faze us. When I noticed my flip-flopped feet were going through snow and I wasn't even aware of it, I decided numbness was definitely happening.
We gradually added layers as we made our way to our car (oh the parking in Boston), and then I felt my toes again.
And then, just hours before my flight home, I had to go to Al's again. Oh man, I miss that place.

Other highlights: meeting Ali's cute residents at her new job, ice skating and watching all of Ali's highly-skilled spins, going to Church in Boston's new Stake Center, driving by the Harvard chapel that is still recovering from the fire, buying new running shoes to bribe myself to March 19, seeing the piles and piles of snow that stole half of my week, playing with Rachel again...OK that's going to have to be the end of the list, because it could go on for way too long.

Thanks for the fun week, Ali! I'll be back soon :)