Monday, June 15, 2009

Jude and the Park

Today Jude and I went to a little park by our house. I was pleasantly surprised to see a baby swing actually open. At Liberty Park, ALL the swings are being occupied ALL the time, so it's been frustrating to go there. I think this new little park might be Salt Lake's best-kept secret.
Jude became better acquainted with grass. He loves to feel the grass between his fingers and he cries if I take him away from it.
Here he is looking a little more intense.
Oh those pudgy little fingers!! I want to EAT them!
Here's the little baby swing at the park. I think it's not quite up to safety code, but it seems to work for us.

Thanks for reading this!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Great Salt Lake

Here's something weird. . . up until last Saturday, I had never been to the Great Salt Lake. Carl and I decided to go to Antelope Island for my maiden voyage. It was SO COOL! I think the reason I liked it so much is because I got to be in the middle of the very unique ecosystem that gave our city its name. Here are some pictures we took. . .

It's kind of hard to see, but there are some seagulls (our state bird) flying along the shore there. I always viewed seagulls as the rude, annoying birds that try to steal your food when you're trying to have a picnic. After seeing them in their natural habitat, however, I realized what cool birds they are. . . perfectly adapted to that salt water and all the brine flies, brine shrimp, and grasshoppers they could possibly eat. They are so much better to see at the Great Salt Lake.

And here is the sego lilly, our state flower. They don't grow very many places in Utah, but at the Great Salt Lake, they are abundant and beautiful. They are smaller than I thought, with maybe a 1" diameter.

Here are Carl and Jude with one of the many buffalo statues placed throughout the state park. There are between 550 and 700 American bison on Antelope Island. We saw one, and its herd was nowhere to be seen.

We went on a short hike on a trail that would probably be way more fun to bike. It was nice to be out there with the salt air and breeze. We saw lots of lizards and got landed-on by grasshoppers.

Jude was having a lot of fun on this hike. I think he smiled for about 30 minutes without stopping! Of course, that's probably because his dad was doing such a good job of keeping him entertained.

As we were leaving the island, I thought the water looked so smooth and glass-like, and I had a new appreciation for the interesting natural phenomenon that is the Great Salt Lake.

The shoreline kept getting smaller as the lake got bigger and reflected the sky.

My eyes were going crazy when I looked at the lake because I couldn't tell where the horizon was. It just looked like sky out there. The only way you could tell where the water was, was by the waterfowl floating on top of it.

If you haven't been to Antelope Island, you should go! I always thought the Great Salt Lake would be too stinky to even get near it, but the smell is just salty, like the ocean. People tell me the brine shrimp are totally disgusting and they would NEVER swim in the lake. Well, I really want to feel the unique buoyancy of the salty water there, plus the state park has really nice showers for when you're done swimming. So. . . we're planning to go back when it's really hot outside, and I'm going to swim in this amazing lake! Let me know if you want to come!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some Funny New Stories

Carl often surprises me with stories from his past. Just when I think I know everything about him, he throws in another zinger, and sometimes makes me laugh so hard I cry. I thought I would share with you two stories Carl recently told me. I will never be able to tell them in his style (which is WAY better!), but there must be someone out there who enjoys these. So, here goes. . .

When Carl was little, he was learning to play the violin. He had been playing for quite some time and couldn't figure out why it always sounded so squeaky. He began learning a certain song, and his mom checked in on him while he was practicing. She noticed his fingers were not going down in quite the right place. Carl thought you're supposed to put your fingers down on the fingerboard BETWEEN the strings instead of ON the strings! After clearing up this misunderstanding, Carl's tone greatly improved.

Now, that's just a cute little story. What I think is funny about this story, which Carl left until the end to tell me, is that the name of the song he was learning was called "A Sad Song with a Happy Ending." How fitting.


I personally think the next story is much funnier than the first one. When Carl was younger, probably in junior high or something, he and his sister, Laura, and two of their cousins were riding in a van. The driver of the van was Carl's older cousin, a girl, who was in high school at the time. Carl and Laura lived at the end of a long country road with big irrigation ditches on either side. Can you guess where this story is going??

The driving cousin noticed a fly buzzing around and started swatting at it, at which point she lost control of the van and drove it nose-first into an irrigation ditch. You can imagine the activity that must have followed as water began rushing in through the broken windows. After some scrambling around, everyone got out okay. Carl and Laura split responsibilities. Laura walked the two younger cousins the rest of the way home and got help. Carl stayed with his hysterical cousin in hopes of calming her down.

Now, if you were the driver of this van, you might be thinking, "Holy Moly! We could have died! I can't BELIEVE we all made it out without any injuries!". Or perhaps, since you were a teenager, you might be thinking, "Oh geez! My parents will NEVER let me drive again! I will be riding the bus 'til my dying day". But Carl's cousin's thoughts were more noble than these, and turned toward the poor van, smashed, filling with water, never to be driven again. Even at this point, you might be thinking, "Dangit! We probably can't even salvage the parts, they're so smashed and wet." But no, in this moment of hysteria, do you know what came out of her mouth?? Over and over again, Carl said, his cousin repeated the phrase, "Hundreds of dollars in carpet damage! (sob, sob, sob)".

Carpet damage? Carpet damage?? Really? Now, I'm no mechanic, but it seems to me that there would be other parts of the van more deeply affected by the crash than the carpet, but what do I know? Sure, even if the axles were intact enough to pull the van out of the ditch with any ease at all, and even if the electrical system had any tiny glimmer of hope of surviving, even then, the carpet WOULD be damaged. So I guess I see her point.