The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

St. George. Twice.

For several years our family has taken refuge from the woes of Salt Lake City's February in the south of the state, St. George. Thank heavens my brother lives there because we are not the only ones who do this. Every year on President's Day weekend it seems that at least half of the city migrates to Utah's Dixie and we are super lucky that we have a local in the family with a home where we can hide and insights into where we can go to avoid the crowds but still have fun. It's become an annual tradition for us. Salt Lake City in February can be pretty bad - cold, dark and wracked with pollution from the winter inversion. So naturally we made arrangements for our St. George trip again this year.
I do have to say that this year, Salt Lake City had a super dry and extra warm January and February. This is not good for our snow pack, but it really helps in not having an issue with inversion collecting in the valley. Our air has been pretty clean and we enjoyed a lot of sunny lovely days. So when President's Day rolled around, we were still excited to see our family but weren't pinning all our  hopes for happiness and emotional well being on escaping our valley.

The journey down there was way more adventurous than we expected. Like I said, half of Salt Lake seems to get on I-15 driving southbound and we ran into some serious traffic. The worst was just past Cedar City when we pretty much came to a standstill for a half hour or so. Maybe longer. And...we were almost out of gas. That was exciting! We made it to St. George on fumes and were very grateful for not having a disaster and running out of gas on the freeway. We were all so hungry by the time we made it to Cedar City that we could only remember to fill up our tummies and not to fill up our car too. Even getting food was challenging; the lines were so long everywhere we went. I guess St. George was the host city for multiple tournaments in more than one sport.

We sure were happy to get there. Especially little Iva to see her big cousin. These two - what a pair.

Iva even invited Chase to her tea party and much to our shock he complied and attended with pinkie lifted.

Sheri always seems to have new places to take us. I keep thinking that we have visited all her out-of-the-way places but low and behold she had another one for us. This time it was a lovely little canyon called Padre Canyon, next door to Snow Canyon, accessible from behind the Tuachan amphitheater. It's not a super long hike but it was pretty steep and scrambly, so I was impressed when all the kids but Sam walked the whole way. They were awesome hikers and found lots to enjoy on the trail like the little hidden caves and crevices.

The hike ended at a saddle with lots of great rocks to climb. We reenacted a scene or two from The Lion King. Sam made a great if unwilling baby Simba.

We didn't do a ton of other activities. We got there so late on Friday night, then hiked and played on Saturday. We initially planned on staying until Monday but after the nasty traffic on the way there we figured that Monday would be equally miserable. And then we realized that a massive winter storm was headed to the state on Sunday and travel would be seriously affected. We made a hasty decision to leave on Sunday morning, much to our childrens' chagrin. The drive home was quick and much less stressful, what with a full tank of gas and no stopped traffic on the road. We did jump the gun just a bit - we wish we had stayed until Sunday afternoon now that we look back on it, as the storm didn't really arrive until that night, but from all the weather reports it seemed urgent that we leave. And we did end up with a pretty good storm. 

On Monday we spent the day shoveling and going sledding - it was so nice to get some real snow in the valley. It wasn't quite as big of a storm as we imagined, but it was decent for sure. And good for us since it had been such a dry winter.

It was only two or three weeks later that I made another trip to St. George. This time it was with a group of friends who try to take a girls trip every year. Sometimes it's St. George and once it was to Midway, but wherever we go it's always so fun and refreshing. I wasn't able to stay for the whole trip - I had to head out a little later than the rest of the gang and I definitely had to get back early since that Saturday was Troy's birthday as well as Romney's play. But the two nights and two days I was able to go just filled my cup. It's always great - dinner out, (and breakfast and lunch...), lots of hot tub time at the condo where we stay. Long walks and everyone wanted to go for a hike, so I led them right back up Pedro Canyon!

This is an amazing group of women. I love them dearly. I'm thrilled when I get to spend time with them and especially enjoy the long conversations we have together. I'm blessed to call them friends.

I zoomed back on Saturday morning early, wanting to be there for as much of Troy's birthday as I could. And funny enough, another winter storm was on its way. I was glad I wasn't driving back on Sunday with the other gals, although I understand they did just fine coming home. This storm didn't carry the heavy warnings and predictions as seriously as the President's Day Weekend one did, but I feel like we ended up getting even more snow this time around. I'm very grateful that with all this traveling I and my family were all safe and never really had to drive through it. 

By the time the weekend was done I can tell you that I was very glad to not be sitting in a car any more! That was a lot of travel in my dear old van. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Crazed Olympic Knitter

One of the events of February I was most looking forward to was the Winter Olympics, this time held in PyeongChang, Korea. I always love the Olympics. If I could I'd watch every minute and keep track of every event. Not possible, I'm here to tell you. But I always give it a good try. And this year I was doubly excited due to my connection to the country as I had served my mission there.

I got the idea from my sister-in-law Kathleen to celebrate the opening ceremonies by cooking Korean food and eating it with friends while the ceremony was televised. I was happy our friends the Moores were up for this, and even hosted at their house since they have a couch spacious enough for all of us. I supplied the food, they supplied the couch and large television. I had a lot of fun cooking up Korean food. I did have to photograph myself with this lovely large radish because it reminds me of a the fond nickname one of my Korean companions had for me. That would be "moo-daddi," or,...radish legs. I guess my large white legs were just too much like this veggie for her to resist the name.

Oh how I love Korean food. We had a really fun evening together, and thus I began my binge-session with the winter games.

I have to confess that I got a little over excited about a project I picked out to work on while watching the Olympic coverage each evening. I thought that I would feel less guilty sitting in front of the television for hours if I was being productive and keeping my hands busy. I went to a knitting store and found this divine yarn and a pattern for a large wrap that looked lovely. I was so excited about it that I cast it on to my needles before the winter games even started. Ten days before they started, that is. And by the time the opening ceremonies started and the Korean food was gobbled up and the dishes were clinking gently in the dishwasher, I was sitting down to watch and I already had half of the thing done. I was a crazed knitter/t.v. watcher. And what's worse is that when I cast on the stitches, the number called for in the pattern just didn't look like they were going to make a wrap of the dimensions I wanted. I wanted something big and snuggly and really....WRAPPY. Not some old scarf! So I cast on many extra stitches and I knit...and watched..and knit...and watched...until the next thing I knew, I had a wrap the size of which even Hagrid would have been in awe. I mean, it's massive. Slightly ridiculously massive. I almost can't wear it it's so big. Poor Troy tries not to snicker when I wrap up in it, but it's hard for him. I love it.

Just one quick note - Valentines Day came and went during the Olympics and I'm ashamed to admit that I totally failed to do a single thing for anyone in my family. Well, I did do one thing. I expressed my love for my family through bacon. I made them bacon pancakes. It was the best I could do. No cookies, candy, love notes, cards, balloons...nada. That's just how things are this year. (As a side note, since I'm writing this at the end of March, I'll mention that I did even less for St. Patrick's Day. Last year I managed a green article of clothing for each child. This year, Emma came down the stairs on St. Patty's Day morning and told me she wasn't going to look at the table until the whole family was gathered to see what the leprechauns had done. Fail. They had done exactly zero things. I didn't do anything. Instagram shamed me for that one with pretty much everyone doing something fun and adorable for their kids. Some years I do stuff, and some years I don't. The end.)

Here's my bacon pancake video I added to my One Second a Day video app. You should try it. It's a fun one.

Here's my finished "wrap." It's over seven feet long. Silly me.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Howard, At Long Long Last

I think the first concert I ever went to was in 1988, or thereabouts anyway. Though I forget the year I remember clearly who it was. I got to see Steve Winwood. You know, Bring Me a Higher Love, Back in the High Life Again...that guy? Loved him. I remember being like a little puppy I was so excited. Beautiful Park West on the hill was the place - still possibly my #1 venue I've ever loved for seeing concerts, though sadly it is no more. Maybe I only loved it so much because I ended up seeing so very many shows there in the subsequent years. I just have such fond memories of the long drive there, always with friends. Finding a parking spot a least a mile away from the venue which required a very long walk to the gates, and then the huge grassy hill where you'd lounge at the beginning of the evening, chatting as the opening band played and the sun set. But then after dark the main performer would come on stage and we'd run down to the dusty ground in front of the stage and practically get trampled by the crush of energized fans. I know I had beer dumped on me more than once, and it's there that I learned what marijuana smoke smells like. And I have this great memory of seeing the same cute stranger boy at several of the concerts and then ending up dancing next to him in the press of people. At Park West I saw UB40, Sting, The English Beat, Chicago, The Indigo Girls, I can't even remember who else. But they were all awesome.

Sadly, there was one show I just wasn't able to go see. And that was my all time favorite 80's rock star. That would be Howard Jones.

Is there anyone out there more classically 80's and so very fun even still today? Maybe, but not in my book. He was the best. I received for Christmas one year, I think in 8th grade, his cassette tape of Dream Into Action. My sister was so jealous. Probably the first and last time she was ever jealous of something I had. I loved him so much. But when he came in concert to Park West, my mom deemed me too young to go. I'm sure she was right - this was probably '87. And yet it just wrenched me apart to miss it. He came again in 89 and for some other reason I couldn't go. Pretty much every person I know who was over the age of 16 in 1989 went to that concert. Oh how I wish I could have been there to see him in all his 80's glory. That white mohawk and pegged parachute pants and synthesizers everywhere. But no. I never did see him.

I know he came to Utah from time to time but somehow I just never got the chance.

And then, this February of 2018, may the date be remembered forever, I heard that Howard Jones himself was to appear for 5 nights in a row at a small theater in Park City. Luckily I have a dear husband who was totally supportive of us going even in the middle of the week, even getting a babysitter for our too-old-for-sitters kids because I knew they'd be a little freaked out about us being gone that long. (Bless you niece Kate and nephewish Cameron for helping us.)

The theater was indeed small, and we knew from previous experience of going to shows of old 80's stars in Park City that the crowd would be rather on the aged side. But that was all good. We sat in our seats and expected no fanfare or opening band as the stage contained naught but one keyboard and a stool. And an iPad.

The show was called "Howard Jones, the songs and the stories." After the show was introduced, the man himself strode onto stage looking as cool as he ever did, and even though the mohawk was gone his hair is delightfully silver blond and still rebelliously spiky, I'm happy to say. I was floored to discover that Howard is actually in his mid 60's and has been married to the same person since 1977. Who knew!!?? That is so awesome.

The man just sat down and started talking and telling stories, and then he'd play a song. His voice is as wonderful as it ever was. Not everyone who was famous in the 80's sounds as great as they used to. Just ask Troy about the time we went to see Alphaville in 1998. Not good. But Howard sounded just the same and we were amazed at his skill at the keyboard. I guess I kind of always connected him with electronic music, which is true, but he can seriously play. He's fanTASTIC.

So yes, my teenage dream finally came true. HoJo remains my 80's hero.