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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ride the Rapids

Tim and I got the chance to go on a last minute river rafting trip with my inlaws. It was super quick, but I'm so glad we made the time to go. We drove to Vernal after work on Tuesday night, arrived in time to check in to our hotel and fall asleep. After a quick early morning run, we met up with the group to be bussed out to the river. Along the way they stopped to see some petroglyphs. It was interesting because the Freemont indians left so little in terms of artifacts that they do not have great interpretations or explanations what the drawings are trying to portray. Sad, because it took a lot of work and obviously it was of high importance to the people. These were some of my favorite.

Then we were off to the river, the weather was pretty much perfect and it felt great to get on the water. We were in a boat with my inlaws, their friends, and Tim's brother Mike.

Oh, and of course, our trusty river guide Tony. He has a degree in geology and had so much interesting information about the rock formations, the river, and the original exploration of the river by John Wesley Powell. Seriously, it was like school in a good way, but don't test me, I've forgotten everything already.

After a few hours on the river we stopped at a little beach for lunch. The river crew had brought everything along and set up quite the spread of sandwiches, fruit, chips and cookies. Delish. All that sitting in a boat can make you hungry.

Because we are late in the season, the rapids were all relatively small, just enough to get wet and make you work, but nothing to toss you out. Once we were at calm water, Tim and I took Tony up on the invitation to swim. The water was great and it was fun to cruise with the current. The only problem, getting back in the boat. Let's just say that it wasn't pretty or graceful.

It was a long drive back to Provo that afternoon, but we loved it and can't wait to go back next year for more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bring On The Celebrations

In our family we believe in celebrating a birthday as many times as possible. It had been a few weeks, but Sunday we had one last official celebration for Ada and Tim's twinner birthdays. Oh, you noticed that there appear to be two extra kids blowing out the candles? We also believe in letting anyone under the age of 20 help with the candles, no matter whose birthday. Of course my mom used trick candles, so there were plenty of chances.

Ada has been a fashion queen since she could talk. For the past few years I have bought her a new outfit for her birthday and she has ended up wearing it for the first day of school. Apparently she now considers this tradition and was very concerned that I would not come through and she would be left wearing rags on the first day. Ada, how could you doubt me. When I saw the boots they pretty much screamed your name and the outfit followed. I pretty sure that I never rocked the first day of school like Ada does.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hobble Creek Half Marathon

The day started early, 4:30 a.m., we got ready quickly and then spent a lot of time in the parking lot waiting. Not our best shot, but not bad for a phone shot in the dark.
We got to the top of the canyon with just enough time to make a quick porta potty stop before the gun went off. I've run this half more than ten times and had some of my best, and some of my worst races on that course. Yesterday I started the race with my favorite mantra "Run your race, and enjoy your run", but this time added in "To everything there is a season...A time to listen to your body, and a time to get uncomfortable in order to progress. A time to push your pace, and a time to refrain from pushing. Yesterday was a day to listen to my body, and to refrain from pushing. It was tough, I was antsy and just wanted to run hard, but I knew that if I wanted to stay healthy, I would have to take it easy. So I ran, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, I chatted with other runners, and tried not to focus on my pace. I do my best thinking while running, and my brain was on overdrive.
The night before I had read an article in Runners World by a newbie who was planning to run his first half marathon. He had watched a lot of races and was scared to be that guy that everyone "admires", he said "I've admired so many people from the sidelines...I've clapped for the ones who really looked bad...What if you trip and begin with a bandaged ankle, what if your nipples bleed, what if you vomit, cry and collapse? I've seen people do all these things and I've admired them" As I read the article I laughed, but yesterday morning as I ran slowly, I kept thinking, I don't want people to "admire" me, I just want to run like I'm used to. For a brief moment I started to get discouraged, and then I gained a little perspective: Friday night while picking up our pre-race Olive Garden pasta, I saw four different people who were in wheelchairs, I noticed each with their various struggles and at the time thought that I was grateful to not have that as my challenge in life. During the race I was reminded of the people in wheelchairs and realized how amazing it was that I could run. Fast or slow, I can run, walk, skip, dance, or move any way I want. I had been feeling restricted by my speed, but it struck me what a small restriction that really was. Any bit of pity party I had been having went away, and I really just settled down and enjoyed the rest of the run.

I had an amazing support system at the end, and loved having Tim, family, and friends, there to cheer for me. They love me fast or slow, and often are the ones that get me through a tough race.

The crew:
Adrian, Chrissy, Jarin (Miles), Dad, Tim, Me(Gavin) and Sherlynn

Friday, August 19, 2011

Monkey Business

I've seen a lot of climbing walls, but at the beach where we played at Bear Lake, they had coconut trees to climb. The kids did great. I wish they would have had an adult tree, it looked like fun.

Monkey Miles

Monkey Ada

Monkey B

Bear Lake - Beach Blanket Bingo

Look at all those white babies of mine. Jenna and Calvin
Doesn't she look like a movie star in that hat?

I think Cory just wanted everyone to go away

So he could concentrate on his book.

Who's the hottie?

Grandma and grandpa are the life of the party.

(She brought all the water and sand toys) She's forever my girl.

The many faces of Miles


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bear Lake - The Water

I was almost embarrassed to write these next few posts. My friend Melissa thinks that all I do is play...just wait for the posts of me sitting at my desk or cleaning my house. Last weekend we went to Bear Lake for a few days. If was fabulous, we spent a lot of time just sitting by the water - we alternated between the lake and the pool. The weather was perfect and the water is always beautiful.

Grandpa and the grandkids having a water fight.

Phew, Miles made it out safe. I think they tired him out.

Once they have had enough sand, the pool is always a hit.

Last year Ada and Miles were a little nervous to go down the slide,
This year they were so brave.

B was always fearless on the slide.
These boys were much more interested in relaxing.

With all those people,
I tried to stay as far away from the hot tub as possible,
I don't want to think about what was growing in there.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

It's been awhile since I have done a book review. During the summer I seem to read a lot more magazines. This book is non fiction so it took a lot longer to get through than an easy "beach read". My friend Dabrielle recommended it for our two person, long distance book group. The book has a lot of facts, a lot of science, most of which I'm not sure I completely understood, the the human interest part was the most fascinating part to me.

So what is the book about?
Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories? --Tom Nissley

The book really made me think...several months ago I actually participated in a research study with the University of Utah Hospital. One of the forms I signed said that in addition to the actual project I was participating in, the researchers could basically use the samples to conduct any other research they wanted. At the time I thought, sure, use what you want, if I could help someone else, why not. In theory I still feel this way, but reading this book made it seem so much more invasive. The financial gain was a big issue in the book, Henrietta's family was very upset that her cells made so many people rich while they lived very difficult lives. I wouldn't necessarily want to make money off a medical help that was discovered using my donations, but I might feel differently if I didn't have the financial opportunities that I have. Also, it doesn't seem right for a drug company, or other private venture to profit from the donation. So I guess I'm conflicted, I'm not sure where the money belongs. Henrieta's family also really suffered because they didn't know anything about her cells, how they were being used, and how important they were. It's pretty unlikely to have that dramatic of an effect on science, but again, if I did, I'm not sure if I would want my family and friends to know, or if I would prefer to just remain anonymous. See the book has made me think, but I still haven't really figured out how I feel.

At it's core, the book is about a family that lost their wife and mother, something that always hurts. Henrietta's daughter Deborah, while being interviewed for a BBC documentary said she would often be sad and cry and ask "Why, Lord, did you take my mother when I needed her so much. I really appreciated how the author combined the science with the personal, not an easy task but necessary, otherwise, it would have felt like a college textbook. Through the details of her family, Henrietta became real, and relevant, which I think was exactly the author's intention.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Listening

Last night my mom convinced me to go to a Christopher Cross concert at the Scera Shell. To my dad and siblings, you are welcome, next time it's your turn. There are plenty of interesting people to watch at the Scera and last night did not disappoint. My favorite was the middle age woman who was sitting on a blanket on the hill, but several times was inspired to dance. It was an interesting march/shimmy/swagger kind of dance, definitely sad that it was too dark for a picture as I'm sure you would have loved to share. She was the best part of the night. Oh, and the concert, eh. He played for about two hours which was about an hour and half too long. If he would have played his greatest hits, taken a bow, and been done, it would have been fun. But...he apparently has a new album to promote so we were treated to lots of new, not so great, songs Let's just say that I've heard enough slow jams and Kenny G type sax to last me a lifetime. Should have stuck with "Sailing".

More Gym Stories

Let me start by saying that I have been known to sing out loud, and probably very off key, when I have my headphones in. I love to sing while riding my bike, I figure I am moving fast enough that no one really pays attention. When on an easy run, I even sing a little while running. Sometimes I'm tempted to sing aloud while at the gym, but always stop myself before making a spectacle. The other day I was swimming at the gym and started to hear some type of singing or music. I knew it was too early for water aerobics and it didn't really sound like a radio. I finally popped my head up and saw that it was a woman doing her own version of water aerobics with some type of i-pod and singing loudly. I couldn't really tell what song she was singing, the indoor pool already has an echo, so it was quite the sound. Maybe I need to learn to be a little less self conscious, she seemed pretty oblivious and appeared to be enjoying herself. How about you, are you ever worried about doing things that break social norms?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate Zuchinni Cake

Jarin's birthday was a few weeks ago. I have somehow become the designated dessert maker for birthday celebrations. Jarin requested my mom's chocolate zucchini cake. Seriously the best use for all of the surplus zuchinni that seems to float around this time of year. I usually try to grate it and store it in the freezer in 2 cup bags, then you can enjoy it all year long. No pictures, but, enjoy.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 cub butter
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter milk
1 cups grated zucchini
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped nuts
Combine margarine, oil, sugar, and eggs. Blend in flour, cocoa, salt, soda, baking powder and buttermilk. Add zucchini and vanilla. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan. Mix together chocolate chips, brown sugar and nuts and sprinkle over top of cake batter. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Orchard Days

Once upon a time in a town called Santaquin the people decided to have a summer celebration, they named it Cherry Days since the town was full of orchards and many people were employed in the cherry business. That made some of the town's farmers very sad, they grew apples, peaches, pears, etc. and thought it was mean that their fruit wasn't the namesake of the celebration. They cried and cried until finally the city was tired and changed the name to Orchard Days. The end.

Ada was crowned a runner up to the Little Miss.
She seriously mastered that wave.
Miles also had a moment of glory,
Riding in the train with his soccer team.

Calvin's job was to bring back candy
for Jami, Cory and Jenna.
Doesn't everyone pick up their kids on the four wheeler?
After the parade, we ditched the rest of the festivities,
Including the cherry spitting contest,
And went out to the reservoir.
Miles has turned into a fearless driver,
When there is someone to race.
Since he was the driver, he needed my shades,
And totally rocked the look.

While Brycen had a pleasure cruise on the tube,
I took advantage of the sun.