Showing posts with label tradition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tradition. Show all posts

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mt. Rushmore with Sean

Last summer Marilyn and I took Sean on a road trip to the Four Corners Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park.  Apparently, summer road trips are now a tradition so we asked Sean where he wanted to go this year and he picked Mt. Rushmore.  We went last weekend and, aside from a very long drive, we had so much fun!  Sean said that the view was worth the drive!
At the entrance to the monument.
Sean in front of a sculpture of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who created Mt. Rushmore.
The plaza leading up to the monument.
It is quite impressive!
Sean and I walked along the Presidential Trail to get a few different perspectives of the presidents.  We ate lunch at the cafeteria and, of course, we had to get some of the famous ice cream.
As we drove away from the monument there was a turnout to get a really good view of Washington's profile.  It is pretty spectacular.
Sean posing in front of the sign in his new Mt. Rushmore hoodie!
In the late afternoon we decided to visit the Crazy Horse Monument.  So far only the head has been completed and they have started working on the horse.  It doesn't seem like much has been done when you look at what the completed monument is supposed to look like but it is quite different from what I remember seeing as a kid.  Sean really liked the Native American museum.  In the evening we went back to Mt. Rushmore for the evening patriotic program and to see the monument illuminated.  It was a great day.  Marilyn and I had so much fun with Sean and it seemed like we were laughing all of the time at everything he said.  He means so much to both of us and I am so happy that we could take him on this road trip.  He is already thinking of where he wants to go next year!

Note:  It was the beginning of the Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis so we saw lots and lots of motorcycles which was really cool.  The street in front of our hotel was lined with parked motorcycles.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekend in Fillmore

For the past several years Marilyn and I have spent opening weekend at the KOA in Fillmore.  Opening weekend was actually last week but Marilyn was busy and I, as you know, had lots of Spirit Week nonsense going on so we postponed our trip one week.  We have both been anticipating it for so long.  It was incredibly relaxing and, boy, was it needed.  We both drove down on Friday afternoon (Fillmore is about 150 miles south of Salt Lake) and settled in to our cabin.  We spent every day sitting on the porch reading, which I absolutely loved because I haven't had much time for reading lately.  We spent every evening sitting by the fire, which is my very favorite part of camping.  We stayed up late every night talking until the wee hours and Marilyn may or may not have thought there was a wild animal lurking underneath our cabin ready to attack us as we slept (we found out later that it was a tiny jackrabbit)!  One night we drove into Fillmore to have dinner at our favorite hole in the wall cafe called the Garden of Eat'n.  For some reason we both think that name is hilarious and we always eat there.  The waitress recognized us from last year and told us how cool it was that we could have a girls weekend every year.  I loved every minute of this trip and I'm so glad that Marilyn and I are able to do this every year.  I hope that this is the first of many camping trips this year.

Friday, December 30, 2016

All That Jazz

Last night I took Sean and Tashena to a Utah Jazz game.  We started the tradition of seeing a Jazz game over the winter break last year and, ironically, the Jazz played the same team, the Philadelphia 76ers, as last year!  The Jazz have been playing really well lately (we are currently fifth in the Western Conference) so I have been looking forward to this game, my first this season!  Sean and Tashena are always so much fun to be around and it ended up being a great game.  The Jazz started well, leading by as many as nine in the first quarter but then they let the Sixers slowly catch up to them and went into the half down by one point.  The lead went back and forth during the third quarter but the Jazz had their way with Philadelphia in the fourth, outscoring them 30-9.  Utah won the game 83-100 and it was pretty exciting, especially when the Jazz hit five three-pointers in the last quarter!  There was a large and rowdy crowd in attendance and the three of us had so much fun!

Note:  I finished my Harry Potter marathon right before the game.  I always cry when Harry asks his parents to stay with him as he faces Voldemort in the last film.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Carol 2016

I am now officially on Winter break and I couldn't be happier (It was touch and go whether I would make it through my final class yesterday). I am definitely looking forward to some fun activities (and sleeping in) over the break. At the top of my list: a performance of A Christmas Carol at Hale Theatre. This, like The Nutcracker, is another one of my very favorite holiday traditions and it wouldn't be Christmas without it! Also, like The Nutcracker, it never grows old even though I have seen it so many times I could probably stand in for any part! I always look forward to the octet singing Christmas carols in between scenes. I always look forward to the dramatic entrance of ghost of Jacob Marley and all of his chains. I always look forward to Christmas at the Fezziwig's (especially when they sing "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella"). I always look forward the party at Fred's house (especially when one of the guests starts laughing uncontrollably).  I always look forward to the terrifying Ghost of Christmas Future.  Finally, I always look forward to the scenes which illustrate Scrooge's redemption, particularly the scenes with Bob Cratchit. During last night's performance, virtually every role was filled by an actor I had never seen before, most notably Stephen Kerr as Scrooge, Josh Richardson as Bob Cratchit, and Spencer Bean as Fred. It almost seemed like a new production because each actor added something new to the character. I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night, and not just because I am on Winter break! I highly recommend that you get a ticket to one of the remaining performances (tickets may be purchased here). Next year, A Christmas Carol will be performed in the new theatre!

Note:  I sat by the most adorable family.  They bought me a drink and a cookie at intermission for putting up with their four children (who were incredibly well-behaved).  It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nutcracker 2016

The holidays will be upon us very soon and I am not ready! I spent most of the afternoon yesterday rushing around trying to check some items off my long to-do list and, frankly, I'm a little bit stressed out. Last night, however, I took some time out to enjoy one of my very favorite holiday traditions: a production of The Nutcracker by Ballet West. It was the perfect antidote to my stress because as soon as I heard the first notes of Tchaikovsky's magnificent score, I settled into my seat knowing it would be a lovely evening. I've seen this ballet so many times you might think that it would get old, but it just makes me anticipate every scene even more! I love it when the Christmas tree grows to giant proportions, I love it when the toy nutcracker turns into a handsome prince, I love it when the Snow Queen dances with all of her snowflakes, I love all of the divertissements provided by the Sugar Plum Fairy for Clara's enjoyment (especially the Arabian dance and the Russian dance), and, most of all, I love the Grand Pas de Deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier because it is so incredibly romantic. I got to see someone new dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy last night, Sayaka Ohtaki, and she was absolutely beautiful and danced the role magnificently. The entire production is magical, from Tchaikovsky's incomparable music, to William Christensen's classic choreography, to the stunning sets and opulent costumes. If The Nutcracker has ever been one of your holiday traditions, I suggest that you try to see one of the remaining performances (go here for tickets) to bid a fond farewell to the current production. In 2017, Ballet West will debut a whole new production complete with new sets, costumes, and special effects, which is exciting but also a little bit bittersweet. I have certainly enjoyed the current production for a very long time and I especially enjoyed it last night!

Note:  My friend's daughter performed as one of the Ladies in Waiting last night.  It was so fun to be able to see her and she did a wonderful job!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Gingerbread Houses 2016

Last night we had our traditional gingerbread house party with Sean and Tashena.  We do this every year, although Sean mentioned that when he is a teenager next year he might not want to do it any more.  Tashena responded by saying that she is sixteen and still likes to do it!  We always buy the kits and then we hot glue them together so we can get to the decorating faster.  It is such a fun tradition!
We always have to get the shot of Sean eating the frosting because we have one from every year!  He eats more frosting than he puts on his house.  In fact, he ate so much this year that he had to use my leftover frosting to finish!
Working on their houses!
Various stages of construction!
Tashena with her house.
Sean with his house.  The random purple candy on the window kills me!
Our gingerbread village!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Lower Lights 2016

What a fun week I've been having (the essays are still not graded)!  Last night I went to my second holiday performance in as many days and, since I love hearing Christmas music performed live, I was thrilled to end the week with the Lower Lights Christmas concert at Kingsbury Hall!  Truth be told, I have been looking forward to this for weeks.  I went to my first Lower Lights Christmas concert last year and I loved it so much that I knew I had to make it a Christmas tradition.  The Lower Lights are a super-group of 21 insanely talented musicians and vocalists, many of whom are famous in their own rights (perhaps you've heard of Ryan Shupe?), who have a distinct folk-gospel sound.  The concert began with one man, one guitar, and one spotlight and a beautiful instrumental version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."  Then for the next two and a half hours, a variety of different singers and musicians were featured performing both Christmas and gospel songs.  I was very impressed with how seamless the performances were with musicians coming and going from the stage and different singers moving to center stage to introduce songs and talk to the audience.  Some of the Christmas songs included "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "I Saw Three Ships," "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful," one of the most beautiful renditions of "Away in a Manger" I have ever heard, "White Christmas," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,"  "Silver Bells," "Mary's Lullaby," "The Holly and the Ivy," "A Cradle in Bethlehem," and "Mary's Boy Child."  They sang "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" which is one of my favorites because I used to sing it every Christmas when I was in the choir during college.  Another favorite from my choir days is "Still, Still, Still" which they performed so beautifully that it brought a tear to my eye.  They also sang a few songs from their latest album, Old Time Religion, including the title track and "Down to the River to Pray, encouraging the audience to sing, clap, dance, and cheer!  I will admit that we got a bit raucous!  Towards the end of the concert they invited the audience to sing along with "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and, like last year, they performed a very heart-felt version of "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day," hoping that we could all find a little bit of peace during these very dark days we are living through.  Another favorite moment was an epic instrumental version of "What Child Is This?" with a guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass.  For the encore, they performed a fun version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and a rock and roll version of "Once in Royal David's City,"  The final number, like last year, was a beautiful rendition of "Silent Night" with just a guitar for accompaniment.  I loved this concert so much and I wish that everyone reading this could attend their final concert at Kingsbury Hall tonight (go here to see if there are any tickets left).

Note:  Mitt Romney was sitting two rows in front of me.  First Sting and now Mitt Romney!  I am a magnet for celebrities!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Messiah Sing-In 2016

Last night I went to a performance of Handel's Messiah by the Utah Symphony, under the baton of guest conductor Eric Schmidt, the Westminster College Choir, the Utah Symphony Chorus, and soloists Abigail Rethwisch, Sarah Coit, Christian Sanders, and Markel Reed.  The audience is invited to sing along during the chorus and it was so much fun!  Handel's music is absolutely glorious and I especially loved "For unto us a Child is Born," "Glory to God in the Highest," and, of course, "Hallelujah!"  Markel Reed sang the baritone part at last year's performance and he was amazing.  He was amazing again this year, especially in "The trumpet shall sound."  He received thunderous applause after this section!  I was a member of the Westminster College Choir all four years of college and seeing them on the stage made me feel very nostalgic.  I used to love performing Christmas music this time of year and, to this day, I still love hearing Christmas music performed live.  The annual performance of Handel's Messiah is a wonderful tradition (I have done it now for three years) and, while I was feeling pretty festive after putting up my tree on Saturday, I am now filled with Christmas spirit after such an amazing concert!

Note:  I bought a copy of the score last year and put it in a very safe place.  Of course this necessitated a massive search of my house to find it for this year.  Luckily I found it in time.
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