Monday, September 22, 2008

A new ward = new challenges

So way back when I took a poll because it was time for me to change wards. Congratulations to those who voted for the family ward because that is where I have decided to go for the time being. Given that I live downtown, I was somewhat prepared for this to be an interesting experience. However, as I learned yesterday, this is going to be one heck of a ride. When we talked to the bishop he gave us this info on what is found in the boundaries of our ward (I call this "informed consent"):

  • 2 women's shelters

  • A halfway house for schizophrenics

  • Transitional housing for the recenly homeless

  • Housing for people with AIDS

  • 2 towers of fixed income living (mainly geriatrics)

  • 400 members with a 50% turnover each year (200 in, 200 out)

  • A core group of 40-some-odd folks who keep the ward afloat.

Needless to say, we are in for quite a change from the relative stability of the singles ward. But based on the above, I would argue that they could use a couple of gals with some leadership ability...and a social worker to boot. This is going to be a big adjustment for me but I am hoping that I will be able to find ways to serve that maybe I haven't experienced before. I am a little worried about my own growth in gospel knowledge/understanding but I guess that means I'll need to focus more on my personal efforts in that area.

I am excited for this new opportunity in many ways. I was also a bit scared/taken aback by a few things yesterday. Is it bad to laugh out loud at some of the stuff that happened? Heidi and I will be starting a book of quotes that we hear and I'm sure I'll post some of them here. Your sampler from yesterday, as given by an elderly woman in a flowery dress:

"Sometimes when I look into the eyes of my Dachsund, I see the eyes of Jesus."

SAY WHAT?!?! Stay tuned for more adventures in the Liberty 9th Ward.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Every couple of months or so I get together with my "married with children" friends Maree and April for a girls' night out. We usually pair some sort of activity with dinner at a random SLC place. Last time we went to the driving range to hit some golf balls and went to Mama's Southern Plantation followed by a quick stop at Sawadee Thai for some yummy desserts.

This past week we were going to take the canoe out for a spin and have a picnic up at Silver Lake. The weather didn't look too cooperative so we opted for some good times at Bonwood Bowl and dinner at Moochie's Meatballs. I have driven by there a million times but had never gone in. It's an Italian-ish place that also boasts a mean Philly cheesesteak sandwich. They also sell pottery inside. Kind of a random place but fun at the same time. We ordered 3 different dishes and 3 different desserts so we could try a variety.

Moochie's--232 E 800 S

Apparently Moochie's is quite popular at lunch time. They are only open past 3:30 from Thu-Sat so don't show up on an off night. Perhaps the best part of the whole experience involved the swamp cooler...yes, the swamp cooler. We placed our order and decided to eat outside. When we asked if they would bring our food out or how we would know to come get it, the girl said "Listen for your name through the swamp cooler." WHAT?!?!

We made our way out to the picnic tables and I decided to go try to set up my camera on my car to get a picture in front of Moochie's. When suddenly we hear the word "APRIL" booming as if it were a voice from heaven. April looked at me, thinking I had called her name from my position over by the car. And even though we should have been expecting it, it took us a minute to figure out that her name had indeed come from the swamp cooler and our food was ready. You probably had to be there but it was quite hilarious.


Moochie's is located in a house type structure. Their overflow seating is another "house" next door. Note the bathroom complete with tub full of plants. :) Again, very random...but that's what I love about finding these little places. So if you know of any random local dining establishments in northern Utah, send suggestions my way. In the meanwhile, you can check out Moochie's for yourself or if you want a preview, check out the show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on Food Network sometime in October where Moochie's will be featured.

Interesting bathroom set-up

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Labor Day weekend in Escalante

It's kind of hard to believe that Labor Day was two weeks ago. I wanted to post this earlier but between having a nasty cold and then traveling to Phoenix and California, there hasn't been much time. Anyway, having purchased my new canoe nearly at season's end, I was anxious to get my vessel afloat. Labor Day weekend is prime camping time here in Utah so most every spot was already reserved. After much looking, I located a campsite near a body of water that we could reserve ahead of time...Posey Lake near Escalante.

I had never been to Escalante before but had heard plenty of good things about it. The only major drawback was the distance but after inviting some folks, I soon had enough to fill up the car and head down. Many thanks to Heidi, Hilary, Analee and Jose for joining me on this adventure. And let's not forget Hurley, who experienced his first real camping trip.

We loaded up the car on Friday afternoon and hit the road. Thanks to Mapquest it took us FOREVER to get to Escalante. **Note to self, don't always trust Mapquest.** Once there we still had to drive 15 miles up a gravel/dirt road to get to our campsite. After a wrong turn at a fork in the road and some impressive map reading skills by Jose we finally arrived at our camp a little before midnight and set up our home away from home.

Saturday morning we headed out to drive the scenic loop over Hell's Backbone with a stop at an overlook. It was indeed quite scenic. We then made a stop at Anasazi State Park and let's just say it's a good thing we only had to pay 2 bucks to get in. I was certainly underwhelmed. We then proceeded to the trail head for Upper Calf Creek Falls. Hurley did a pretty great job hiking over the slickrock and I think would have done much better if not for the heat.

Greeting us at the end of our journey was the waterfall and several pools of water. We jumped in to refresh ourselves and about froze to death. Jose showed us his best impression of an Acapulcan cliff diver and we also enjoyed a small natural waterslide. The sky around us began to darken and we could see a storm was rolling in.

We were able to hike back out before the rain hit but by the time we got into Escalante it had been raining at a steady clip. We stopped at the small town grocery store to get some cold medicine for Hilary as well as some needed camping snacks...oh yeah, and a toothbrush for me seeing as how I had forgotten to pack mine! My favorite thing about the store was the sign at the checkout that said something along the lines of "Please bring money when you shop. We will no longer be writing down your groceries."

We started making our way the 15 miles up the canyon to get back to our campsite and began to see the signs of flash flooding that is very common in Southern Utah. Water was pouring over the mountains in waterfalls here and there and rushing alongside the road in some places. There were also large rocks that had washed into spots in the road and some places that were extremely muddy. It was a bit nerve-wracking at points but thanks to the 4WD of my beloved Passport we were able to mush on through. I have to admit I really enjoyed digging in the had been a long time.

I had seen the weather forecast before leaving and knew it was supposed to rain and be a bit colder so fortunately we were somewhat prepared. I don't think we realized just how cold it would be though. It continued to rain all through Saturday night and most of Sunday. So we either huddled in our tents or under the small tarp I bought last minute that we rigged up over our cooking area. **Note to self, next time get a bigger tarp.** Poor Hurley was so cold that he was shaking so at one point I actually bungee corded my sweatshirt on him. **Note to self, bring warm clothes for the dog too.**

When we got a break in the rain on Sunday, we took the canoe out on the lake for a while. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it would seem Hurley did too. Sadly, for some reason none of us could figure out how to get into the kayak that Hilary had borrowed from her friend. **Note to self, try out kayak before you haul it over 500 miles roundtrip only to not be able to use it.** We then started up a campfire for a quintessential camping meal of roasted hot dogs and s'mores. We also played a game, whose name I can't remember, but consisted of "would you rather" situations and was both hilarious and disgusting at the same times. Example: Would you rather eat 1 cup of toe jam or a bowl full of hair pulled from the drain?

Sunday night was quite cold and rained some more. I wouldn't have been surprised to have woken up to snow but we were fortunate. The weather finally cleared up Monday morning but was still cold. By this time I think most of us were done with the wet and the cold so we loaded up and started back to SLC. Thanks to a tip from the campground host we were able to cut out about an hour and a half of the drive, which made things much more tolerable.

All in all, it was a good weekend adventure and the scenery was beautiful. I wish the weather had been nicer so we could have done more hiking and canoeing but I am most definitely planning to return to the area in the future. Here are some pics from the weekend:

Hell's Backbone

Jose prepping for his cliff dive

Pool above Upper Calf Creek Falls

Deep pot hole

Natural waterslide

Storm rolling in

Bungee cord fashion

Posey Lake

Canoeing it

Circled round the campfire

Hurley and I at the lake