Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reason #4 - Fun Work Trips

A few times a year I have the opportunity to go to a Walk 4 Hearing through my work (a walk set up on a weekend morning that supports the hard of hearing community) at various locations in the country. Last year and this year there was a walk held in Washington DC that we participated in as sponsors. This year I decided to take advantage of a free plane ticket and come out a few days early to hang out with my friends in the area. It's been a great week, although I've managed to spend all the money I saved on a free plane ticket at H&M, among other various locations. However, I console myself with the reminder that I did in fact, get a free plane ticket, so at least I didn't spend all of my money on clothing AND a plane ticket.

The week started with sleeping until 2pm EST on Tuesday, after which it was time for some serious shopping. I decided to pick up some make up at the MAC counter while I was out, and ended up spending an hour getting my make up done. You gotta love having time to burn with which there is no reason to say no to a free makeover. When do I take time to do things like that while I'm at home?

Through the rest of the week I took it pretty easy. I managed to visit one or two museums or landmarks each day, and made sure I slept in as late as I felt like it as well. I also indulged myself in things like a Tastee Freeze with fries for dinner, and a night of acknowledging the unbelievable enjoyment DVR can bring to my TV experience.

I have now been to DC 3 times. This time around I went with my friend Winn and her mom to Monticello (the home of Thomas Jefferson), and then followed it up the next day with a visit to Mount Vernon (George Washington's home). Although Monticello was definitely a fascinating place, Mount Vernon absolutely tops my list of things I've seen in DC. I have slowly been making my way through David McCullough's 1776, and my respect and love for George Washington continues to grow the more I learn of the incredible man he was. I have always respected him, but I truly admire his humility, his honor, his honesty, and his willingness to lead a righteous cause, even when it took him away from those things he loved most.

I felt like I was walking on sacred ground as I stepped onto the land of Mount Vernon, and although it's been over two centuries since Washington personally cared for his home, his influence over the grounds can still be felt. I found it interesting as well to see the difference between Jefferson's home which was very much influenced by his experience in France, and Washington's home which is a manor that could have been plucked right off the English countryside and deposited in colonial America. I know that our history is so infantile compared to the European continent, but it is rich with the influence of good men who recognized the power of history and have passed that on to those of us who are still willing to listen and learn.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reason #3: I have learned to appreciate all my hometown has to offer

Not many people can experience every kind of outdoor fun we have in Utah by merely driving one to four hours in every direction. Last weekend I decided to get in at least one more outdoor adventure before the winter steals the warmth away for a season.

Since my hiking boots purchased ten years ago are still far from being broken in, I figured it was time for a quality hike that was long enough to put some wear and tear into my shoes and give me a good workout. Needless to say, my calves are still being reminded of the joyous adventure 4 days later. But... we took our time on the trail so we could enjoy the day, and had some lunch at the top, which allowed enough time to prepare for the trek back down.

We hiked up to Lake Blanche. Blanche was the name on the birth certificate for my favorite cabbage patch doll I got for Christmas 20 years ago, and it didn't seem to do the lake justice either. Nonetheless it was a beautiful hike. It was just long enough to take up a good chunk of my Saturday and give me a great workout, but not so long I was regretting it halfway up the mountain.

I truly had forgotten what treasures lay just up the canyon from my apartment. By the time we got to the top of the trail we could see the Salt Lake Valley on one side of us, look down at three beautiful lakes in a charming little valley, and still look up to the jagged snow-capped ridges above us. It was a little windy, but in the calm moments there was a beautiful reflection of the trees and snowy ridges on the lake surface. Perfect. I could spend every Saturday just like this.