Friday, February 12, 2010

A Little Jog Around Denver

I'm in Denver for the First Year Experience Conference. I had some down time and went for a little 10.6 mile run around the city. I was actually supposed to go for 11-12 miles today, so technically I slacked.

It was still a nice way to see a lot of the city. I wish I could have taken a camera with me. One of my favorite things to do when I'm traveling is just walking around and looking at houses and buildings. All the pictures here were from later when I went out for dinner.

I found a route on the Internet that I followed. I made a few detours around streets that looked like they had cool buildings but this is the route if I hadn't wandered. I went from my hotel on 15th & Glenmare over to Washington. Down to 6th. Up Josephine to the City Park. I ran through the park over to Colorado. Up to Martin Luther Blvd. Back down Josephine. Over 22nd. Back on Washington. Then 16th to Glenmare. I liked this route. I recommend it.
I don't know what the weather is like all the time in the winter but it was quite nice today. It was supposed to hit 45 deg. That's pretty good for running. It was a bit windy, and running into the wind was chilly. I wore running tights, shirt, long sleeve shirt, and gloves. I probably could have used a hat to take the edge off the wind. I was led to believe this is fairly typical weather here.

One of the highlights so far was finding the REI. It's huge. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I had to try really hard to not buy a bunch of clearance gear. Mostly cause I don't have space for it in my suitcase. It's in an old brick wear house. In front they have a dirt course where you can try out bikes. Very cool.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Princess Cupcakes

Mom has this fun cupcake book and decided to make princess cupcakes for Misti & Livi's birthdays. Kelly & I were around Saturday so we helped. It was fun. I just made a box mix for the cupcakes. Make those first so they have time to cool.
The heads are made by frosting two vanilla wafers together with a pretzel stick in the middle.
The crowns are made by rolling out starburst candies. Then you cut them to look like crowns. We frosted little flower sprinkles on for jewels.
Mom did all the icing work. She's good at that. We used pre-made frosting. Personally, I think butter cream is tastier than the store bought stuff, but that's just my opinion.
The eyes were made with the frosting and for the lips we frosted on little heart sprinkles.
The dresses are spiced gum drops. The book said to combine 10 small ones, but we had jumbo sized ones so we used 2. They could have been a bit bigger probably, but rolling them out was tricky. You sprinkle the board with sugar crystal sprinkles and keep the gum drops coated so they roll easier.

We used valentine candy corns for the feet and hands. You frost the bottom of the cupcake and set it on a cookie. We used Pepperidge Farms chocolate chip cookies. Yum. The feet get frosted on between the cupcake and the cookie.
The "dresses" go over the top of the cupcake and the heads go through the center. The sleeves are also rolled out gum drops with the candy corns sticking out for hands.
The crowns are frosted into place and mom did more icing work in white for little collars.
Each on had it's own little personality. When Livi saw them, she burst out, "Oh, I love them." She is prone to drama. It was fun to see her reaction though.
And then quicker than it took to make them, they were eaten.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Secrets of the Temple revealed

Racy title isn't it. Ok, I have not secrets. I did get to go into the basement of the Salt Lake Temple and some of the tunnels Saturday. I will tell you what I saw there later. I volunteered to help clean. It was the last day, so I got to do a lot of odds and ends type jobs--some cleaning, vacuuming, moving furniture, hanging curtains, putting stuff away, etc.

I have never done baptisms at the SL temple, so I've only seen the baptistery in pictures. It is beautiful. I'm a big fan of this temple. There are so many details on doorknobs and panelling and everything. It was kind of cool to take the time to look at some of it in detail instead of just walking past it on my way down a hall.

The hardest work was probably hanging curtains. Sadly I was not the shortest person in my work team, so I was one of two chosen to hang curtains. They got me a step box thing to stand on, but I was still on my tippy toes. Reaching above your head can be hard after a while.

The coolest thing I got to do was move random leftover stuff (air filters, boxes, etc.) to the basement. You've been waiting for this. What is in the basement under the temple. Furnaces, storage rooms, and vents & pipes. Not really exciting. It looks like the basement of any commercial building really--cinder block walls painted white, cement floors. Not the prettiest part, but it was cool cause who really gets to go down there? Janitors and engineers.

I have to say, I took more pains and attention to detail one stuff I cleaned there than at my own house. Every nook and cranny is cleaned. The white glove test is not a joke. The thing is everyone who was working--paid or volunteer--really put a lot of love into their work. You can tell. You can feel the love that went into building it, and it's neat to see that the love is still around.

Some other cool stuff I saw. They had painters in to touch up all the gold leafing. Oh, they also replaced some of the carpet. The main entrance is really nice. They put some dark marble on the sides around this carpet with beehives imprinted. Nice. I heard they redid the carpet in the Celestial room as well, but I never got to that area. Also I heard they redid all the chairs in the Garden & Terrestial rooms. They guy that did it is retired and did all the work for free. Nice guy.

I was also delighted to get to go down some halls that I haven't been down before. I found a Minerva Teichert in a little back hall that probably sees very little traffic. Teichert is one of my favorite LDS artists. Actually she's one of the only LDS artist I like. I know, I'm totally bad. I've never made it a secret I'm not the biggest fan of most LDS art (modern stuff mostly). Not trashing the content or the talent, the style just isn't my taste.

I'm serious though. You will not see a speck of dust if you go this week. I don't know how long it takes the dust to come back, but it is gone now.