Saturday, January 26, 2013

St. George sunshine

Thanks to Martin Luther King Day, we had last Monday off from school. Three day weekends are an absolute joy to college students and a group of us took advantage of the extra day of rest. I believe it was on the Thursday afternoon before MLK Day that I received a text message from Becca saying we would be going to St. George for the long weekend; the friend of two of our good friends has a house there, or rather his family does. I agreed instantly at the time but later ran into a bit of trouble.

Come Friday I was all ready to go. I'd gotten people to cover my hours at work; my backpack was full of clothes; I'd picked out what to read for fun; I'd chosen what little homework to bring. But about 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave, I started to re-think my weekend. That was the trouble. Staying at home and relaxing was just so much easier than driving three hours to St. George that night. I suddenly had the great desire to be alone. Luckily, I have a group of persuasive friends who wouldn't let me stay in Provo when the sunny skies of St. George were so attainable.

And so I went, somewhat begrudgingly.

The drive down that night wasn't bad at all. Five of us journeyed south that night: Nathan, Trent, Erica, Wee Nathan and myself. (Yes, we had two Nathans on the trip. That became quite entertaining.) Wee Nathan and I talked a lot about football. We also watched "Get Smart," a movie I remember surprisingly well even though the last time I saw it was probably when it came out. The drive went by quickly and arriving in St. George felt great, mostly because the temperature was well above 30.

The next morning started out great. The night before we planned out our meals for the weekend and bought everything we needed. That meant a delicious breakfast of orange juice and french toast! Nathan made it for us and he did a fabulous job. We lounged around a lot that morning and afternoon. Both the Nathans, Trent and I eventually made our way outside to play volleyball. It was over 50 degrees that day and it felt spectacular. Going out in a long-sleeved tee and shorts seemed like a miracle. After a bit of volleyball, we just ended up lying in the grass talking. The only thing that drew us away from the sun was the thought of all the ice cream we had in the freezer. (Ice cream was on sale so they bought four half gallons. It was perhaps the best decision anyone made all weekend to buy all that.)

After the ice cream we played cards and some other board game I can't remember the name of. It was quite the competitive time, though. I felt quite good about myself as we played the card game scum on account of how during all but one round I was either in the top spot or the the 2nd spot.

Eventually we decided to break out all the bicycles. Trent was quite enamored with the tandem bike. I honestly couldn't remember the last time I rode a bike so the short ride to the park felt like a dream. Once at the park, we decided to test our disc golf skills. I'd played a fair few times before but my skills aren't all that enviable. I don't quite have the precision needed to putt in disc golf, at least from really close to the baskets. I can throw decently far and with general accuracy so that's what I ended up doing most on my team. However, it turns out I'm excellent at putting from mid-range. Put me within a few feet of the basket and I'm terrible, but put me more than 10 feet away and it's game over: I won't miss a shot. Disc golf is definitely a sport I could see myself really getting into.

Right when we came back from discing, Ben and Becca arrived! Once they were situated in the house, it was time to talk dinner. We ended up toasting some bread and making sandwiches but for people who didn't eat any lunch (Nathan, Erica, Trent, Nathan and myself) they were extra great. Once we'd had our fill, we actually just sat in the dark in the living room for quite some time. Eventually Trent roused all of us from our slightly comatose states, going on about how it was only 7 on a Friday night and we were in St. George and it wasn't freezing outside for once so we had better go out and actually do something. All seven of us climbed into the Honda Pilot and went for a little drive with no real destination in mind.

We ended up pulling into this parking lot that apparently led into some small park full of red rock; it was hard to tell because we only had a couple flashlights and we were away from the city lights. So we took a little hike, even with Becca in her broken state of a walking boot. It ended up being a great decision as we climbed up just a little bit and looked out over the city.

Once we returned from our little hike, we watched the movie "Secondhand Lions" and eventually everyone made their way to their respective rooms/couches to sleep.

Sunday morning all seven us were up and ready to go in enough time to make it to 11 o'clock church; this is what we planned to do so it was great. After that we went to the St. George temple and visitors' center. It was a lovely way to spend our Sunday afternoon and it was such a beautiful, sunny day.

 All that walking around sure made us hungry, though. Immediately upon our arrival back at the house, we all changed and started making our late lunch/early dinner. For Sunday dinner we'd planned to make grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and some vegetable. Friday night after shopping the boys decided the chicken should be marinated so they concocted a marinade/sauce from a variety of things in the refrigerator. This included but was not limited to barbecue sauce, Arby's sauce and mustard.

The best thing to occur as we prepared dinner was the "dare" given to Ben by Nathan. He handed Ben half a head of garlic and said, "I'll give you a dollar if you eat that." And without hesitating, Ben popped that garlic into his mouth and started chewing despite great protest from Becca and me. While Becca was protesting the actual eating of the garlic, I yelled at Ben for doing such a thing for only a dollar; such a challenge was worth way more than that. He chewed that garlic for quite some time before it began burning his mouth and throat and he had to spit it out. Then he brushed his teeth a fair few times and according to him at least the first time he did it he "couldn't taste the toothpaste."

The rest of the dinner preparation went swimmingly and we sat down to a wonderful looking meal around 4 o'clock. Nathan did a marvelous job with the grilling and the boys' marinade turned out great, despite the fact that it had the most random of ingredients. We knew the food was good because we talked so little during that meal.

Following dinner it was time for another bike ride to disc golf. After all, Ben and Becca hadn't gone with us the day before. The teams were Nathan, Erica and Becca; Ben and Trent; Wee Nathan and myself. We were generally pretty even through all the holes until the last three of the second round we played. Wee Nathan and I dominated those last three holes. He threw off first, getting somewhat close to the holes but not close enough to be considered actual putting distance. From well over ten feet away on each of those holes I absolutely nailed it. It was kind of funny considering how at the beginning of the games I was quite vocal about how disc golf always frustrated me and I never could throw accurately. Then somehow I always managed to turn things around and throw the discs perfectly. When we got home Nathan (pictured below as the disc model) said he never wanted to play with me again unless I was on his team.

Nathan: America's Next Top Disc Model
Ben can fly
Disc golf pro, broken foot and all
The only way to pose as champions
Look for us in your next edition of Disc Golf Monthly
Following the disc golf, I'm not entirely sure what we did but eventually we watched the Ravens/Patriots AFC Championship game. And by "we" I mean both the Nathans and myself. Everyone else was there but a lot of people fell asleep. Oh, I'm pretty sure there was a bunch of shake making in between the time we got home and started watching the game. (We seriously ate so much ice cream on this trip.) Once the game was over and everyone was awake again we had to once again choose which movie we were going to watch. Sometimes it feels like we spent more time talking about which movie to watch than actually watching a movie. The Sunday pick ended up being Jurassic Park.

And so came Monday, the day we had to return to cold and wintry Provo. Breakfast was once again french toast, this time made primarily by Becca. It was a pretty slow morning; everyone sort of lounged around and relaxed before our 3ish hour trek back to the more northern quadrant of Utah.

Once we'd all had our share of delicious, sugary french toast, we cleaned up the house. That didn't take long with seven of us working together. The final activity of the trip was writing in the house's journal. Anyone who stays there is supposed to write about whatever they did, a pretty neat thing really. Nathan gave me the job of writing what we did since I'm quite talented with putting words together, or so I'm told. I made everyone sign their names at the bottom of our entry and then it was time to go.

The drive back was a bit melancholy, mostly because we watched the temperature drop over and over. Our days of sunshine and 50 degree weather were gone before we knew it. The farther north we drove the sadder I became that it would be months before I could wear my Chacos again. That was one of those little things that made me incredibly happy: wearing Chacos in January. Hopefully whatever my friends and I do over the next three day weekend will be conducive to wearing sandals. It was quite the weekend and I'm sure glad my friends dragged me along. While this post is particularly long, I haven't even mentioned most of the stuff that really made us laugh, the stuff we'll always remember. There's just some stuff that doesn't need to be written about, the kind of stuff that just had to be experienced and will always be remembered.

And so that was my three day weekend. It's hard to believe that a week ago today I was lounging around a beautiful house in St. George. The first three weeks of school have absolutely flown by. Once again the semester hasn't been anything like I expected it to be, as if they ever are, though this one has been especially surprising. Despite all the unexpected events, none of it has exactly been blog-worthy. It's already the end of January and I'm finally posting for 2013! I figure the fact that this post is especially long makes up for that, right?

I'll make sure to do better.

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