Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The REAL Deal

My cousin Devin, clearly campaigning for favorite cousin, called the other night with four tickets to the REAL Salt Lake game. I was pretty pumped to go - I like sporting events and I LOVE free things, so we're talkin' perfect storm here.

My reaction was somewhat akin to watching paint dry, though, compared to Noah's (the avid futbol fan in the fam), whose exact words were...

"Gasp...! I know exactly what I'm going to wear."
Our good friends Brandon and Danina came along and we had a great time counting fauxhawks, counting mullets and counting fauxhawkullets. We also discussed the finer points of stoppage time. Which I wholly disagree with. What if you are WINNING at the end of the regulation play and LOSE during some arbitrarily selected number of minutes after the fact? I cannot subscribe to this logic.

We got to the game around halftime (because our famous last words before heading to the gym that evening were, "your cell phone is dead? No worries, I don't know why I'd need to call you...") with RSL and Toronto locked at zeros. RSL made an impressive goal and held that commanding 1-0 lead until the very last few minutes. Toronto scored on a penalty kick, but RSL pulled out the win in the last minute or two - so we actually had some nail-biting action. Yeah! In soccer! I know!

Thanks again for the tickets, Dev. We had a really great time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh. My.

Noah just hopped on Utah State University's website to RSVP for the Honoring Tradition, Securing our Future Salt Lake City event next week. While he was on there, he found this photo amid the scores of photos of classy donor-type folks from the campaign launch event we attended in Logan. I don't remember being intentionally cheesy or anything particularly hilarious the photographer said mid-photo. But oh. The horror. The rodeo queen slash cheer team-esque cheesy horror.

I have no words.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Lewiston Fourth

The 4th of July

Everyone needs a Lewiston in their life. Lewiston, UT is a small farming community in Cache Valley where my mom was raised. Of the 23 July 4ths to have gone down during my life, all but four have taken place in this very spot. In fact, even though I spent those four absences in some pretty beautiful places - Williamsburg (fitting...), England (ironic...), Maine (neutral...) and DC (appropriate...) - there was always a little piece of me missing the Lewiston 4th festivities.

The day begins with a big pancake breakfast in the park. We never, ever went to this. I can think of no better reason but that as kids we were given a few bucks to run to the corner store for cereal and we weren't about to pass up a few and far between sugar cereal opportunity for some boring pancakes.

Next, the parade. Parade-goers are privy to all the latest and greatest in farm equipment, the current candidates for city council and of course - each town's herd of dairy princesses. (That was my attempt at a dairy cow joke - not a stab at the size or stature of the princesses.) My uncle now lives in what used to be my grandparents' home, so the scene hasn't changed much over the past few decades. "Grandma's House" (sorry, Uncle Robert - it'll always feel that way to me...) spans a pretty impressive stretch of parade-front property and the Barlows come prepared to man it well. If an unsuspecting non-familial soul wanders into our territory they will be associated with "that family" with the megaphone reading each parade entry's tagline and heckling the Preston High School cheerleaders for more candy. Consider yourself warned. The megaphone does serve its purpose well. The Barlow progeny between the ages of two and nine make an impressive haul of Tootsie Rolls and salt water taffy fit to rot any kid's baby teeth right out of his/her head. And the adults help rid the kiddos of any "foul" parade treats including Bit 'O Honey and licorice taffy when they're not paying attention.

From there, it's step lightly for anything the pooper-scoopers may have missed and cross the street to the park for the carnival. It's not really a carnival in the small hands, smells like cabbage sense. But a carnival in the small town, local band singing country songs, dunking booth, homemade crafts and the Lewiston fire department blasting the fire hose sense.

And its all fun and games until the fire department has to pack up and respond to an actual fire.
(I have no idea who that little boy is in the bottom of the shot. I said "cheese," he froze and responded appropriately.)

After the carnival, it's off to the family farm for a BBQ. My aunt and uncle still live on and operate the dairy farm where my mom was raised. They have the ultimate fun house and they are so patient and easygoing. The kids basically have free reign of the toys, the dress-ups, the fourwheelers, the trampoline, the huge swingset and the rope swing in the hayloft - the only rule: don't drive over the dirty brown "road" back by the cows. One kid sinking a go-cart into the manure pit is a lesson we need learn only once. You could (and I did...) spend literally hours as a kid getting lost with my sister, cousins and our imaginations on the farm. This year, my nephew Spencer gave me a 4-wheelin' tour of the farm stopping occasionally to point out things like the dog, a pregnant cow and once to ask, "Have you ever stuck your hand in a cow's mouth?" He proceeded to allow a calf free reign of his hand up to mid-wrist. After pulling his little mitt from the calf's mouth, he gestured that it was my turn. Not wanting to risk my cool-aunt status, I obliged.

The kids aren't the only ones who take advantage of the afternoon. Kids and adults alike, the "play" gene is inherent in the Barlow clan, exhibited most overtly by my mom who almost always starts the waterfight (the water source? an irrigation pipe my uncle drags out and unleashes on the lawn. awesome.) and my cousin Todd who is sure to bring a pretty excellent haul of toys to the farm for the day. (Shamless plug: he owns Motorsports Unleashed in Smithfield, UT. Talk to this man if you want a scooter as badly as I do.)

Noah worked the 2-5 crowd with his usual winning way and ended up looking like this by day's end. And the fun proved too much for a few little princesses.
One of the evening's highlights was the little girls' fashion show of the amazing dress-up collection my aunt has. My niece, Whitney, grabbed hold of a real doosey that had us laughing everytime we saw her. It was hard to capture by camera because Whitney did not hold still for more than three seconds, but in a neon flash of spandex flamenco, I give you...
As the evening got darker, I swear the outfit somehow got brighter...
I'm so sorry, Whitney, if posting these photos has some sort of scarring effect on your childhood.No 4th of July would be complete without a proper fireworks display. Lewiston does have a fireworks show, but plan on bringing along a book to kill time in the pauses between explosions. Before we headed "uptown" to watch the fireworks, we played a little game of "who will be the first Barlow offspring to lose an appendage?" Time is of the essence and we do not waste time lighting match after match. Just prop up a blow torch on an overturned bucket and let the mayhem commence.

At the Redbox.

N: "What do you want to see?"
A: "Well, with the critically-acclaimed Drillbit Taylor out of the way, I guess it's only downhill from here."
N: "Uhh... The Golden Compass?"
A: "Sure. Ooooh... is the guy who played Bond in this movie?"
N: "Daniel Craig?"
A: "Yeah. What a hottie. Sweet - I'll have him for eye candy and you can have Nicole."
N: "Not fair. Daniel Craig is so much hotter than Nicole Kidman. {pause} ...relatively speaking."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Raise Your Goblet ... of Rock.

A few (ahem) months ago, Phillips were housesitting for an amazing home up by the Capitol. So what do five couples do with more space than all five couples' places combined? Fire up the grill and play a little RockBand. Thanks dudes, it was a good time.
The game cannot be played without a good power stance.

Mocking me in my posting tardiness, the sweet little prego gal in the picture has been a mom for over a month now.

If you detect a slight "heh, heh... amateur" in Lindsay's smile, it's because when she's on the drums, it goes down like THIS.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Everywhere Is Walking Distance If You Have The Time

So, we're diggin' the new digs. (Pictures... eventually.) But what I've been diggin' as much is that everything is in walking distance. I love it.

We walked to the grocery store our first night (because there was literally water, Rice Chex and frozen strawberry jam in the entire kitchen) with our cloth bags (how responsible... saved gas and trees) and there was something kind of liberating about it all.

If I may interrupt myself right there... one thing that was not so rosy? Smith's on 4th. Who designed this place?! I can not, can not manage to find things in a reasonable order or fashion. I found the chips aisle, check... but not my honey whole wheat pretzels. Huh? Then I found the pasta aisle, check... but not whole wheat penne. Oh, the other pasta aisle? Naturally. It only makes sense that we have a few. Found the tortillas, not the spinach herb tortillas I sought after. Until I found them with the other tortillas. Not to be confused with the third tortilla location. And the coconut milk is not by asian cuisine, canned milk or coconuts (last ditch effort). It's by the Bacardi. Is anyone following this paragraph?! This is how I feel every time I enter the store. If they keep this up, I may just revert back to my Rose Park Smith's days. I don't care if there is a reserved spot for the police and a rotating bar to prevent the oh-so-common thievery. At least I could find the batteries.

Back to the intent of the post. The walking. We've hit the store (clearly. I won't derail again, I swear.) the RedBox, the farmer's market, the arts festival and work all with just our feet and a destination.

Another perk of on-footness: running to and from the gym. I love slippin' in the earbuds, selecting a little Sondre Lerche and soaking in the city sights (oh my goodness and SMELLS... could we bake any more bread in this city?) as I run over for a little one-on-one time with Gym. (I hope my DC roomies are reading this...)

The other evening, however, I realized how much of a role the tunes and the pace affected my self-awareness. Usually it's not a big deal to run past a restaurant - even if folks are seated outside. I think I just get in a zone or something. But a few evenings ago, it was a little warmer outside, I was wearing the hot pants and I just did not have the gusto. So I walked instead. And as I passed a restaurant I've passed time and again, I was suddenly SO aware of the fact I was strolling past diners in my capris and tennies. The stretch of sidewalk felt about eleven times longer than it ever had before. "Uh, hello. Enjoy your burrito, ma'am. I'll get my sweaty self out of here soon..."