Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Mixed Bag of Salt Lake Goodness

I'm back from my big conference weekend in Salt Lake City!  It was a whirlwind trip, full of fun stuff, 1 disappointment, and more fun stuff.  We drove, which may have been mistake #1.  We made really good time, but apparently we missed the memo about the major construction going on all along the freeway in Provo/Orem.  L and Andrew needed to be in Salt Lake for an 8:30 Lakers'Jazz game.  I was supposed to meet my niece for dinner.  We didn't get to the hotel until 8:00pm.  I had to cancel dinner with my niece as it was long past dinnertime, and the boys just threw their stuff into the room and ran off to their game.  It was a little bit lonely until I remembered about room service.  Good food that comes to you - in this case a steak salad and creme brulee.  Enjoyed all by myself.  And after dinner?  A good book I'd downloaded on the way to Utah on my Kindle.  (LOVE my Kindle!)  I called Jess and we made plans for the next day.  I was so excited!
On Saturday morning we discovered that the outlet in the bathroom didn't work.  No hair drying would go on in there.  I was about 1/4 of the way through drying my hair out in the bedroom when L came in and said we had to change rooms right then.  What the?!?  So while I blew my hair dry in my undies (too much information?) L went in and out moving our stuff from our room to the next room.  We had to change right then because they were completely booked that night and we needed to vacate our room with the bad outlet so someone else could be in it.  Whatever.  After that little snafu, I waited for Jess to come pick me up while the boys left me alone again to go on a hike on Y mountain.
I have to tell you all that Jess is AWESOME.  I took her picture, but pictures don't come close to doing her justice.  She has the most amazing green eyes.  And she's nice, and down to earth, and everything I value in a friend.  I highly recommend seeking her out and meeting her.

Cute haircut too, don't you think?  I loved it!  I was doubly lucky in that she brought her daughter, Emma, to hang out with us.  We went to an outdoor mall called The Gateway.  We walked and talked and shopped.  Emma is quite the shopper and it was fun looking at all the bling she kept loving.

Emma is a shopping force, and I loved every minute spent in her company.  Beauty and brains - that's Emma.  Well, it's Jess, too, actually.  We had lunch, and then Jess took me to The Sweet Tooth Fairy for a cupcake - a VaNiela cupcake with chocolate frosting for me.  Soooo delicious!  We took Emma to a park for a little while so she could burn off some energy and then we just went to Jess's house and talked some more.  I learned so much about her and, well - she's just amazing.  It was an afternoon well spent, and I hope I can do it again next time I'm in her neck of the woods.
That night the snowstorm hit.  With a vengeance.  The power went out and we discovered just around midnight that our neighbors in the next room seemed to be U of U students.  Lots of them.  In and out.  Yelling and laughing and in and out and slamming doors and tromping up stairs because the elevators didn't work.  And yelling some more because the halls were pitch black.  We asked them once to be quiet.  Didn't work.  At 3am the power went back on and we were able to call the front desk.  They said they'd handle it.  They didn't.  At 3:30 am we called again.  They finally sent security up and things quieted down by 4am.  At 6am my alarm went off to get up and get ready for conference.  L groaned and said to go back to bed - we weren't going.  I felt half sick so I obeyed.  At 8:00 the other person we were possibly meeting for conference called to say he was definitely going.  So L got up.  I didn't have time to get ready by that point.  So I watched it on TV.  That was the major disappointment - that I didn't go to the actual conference.  But L said they had to park about 1/4 mile away and walk in heavy snow.  I wouldn't have liked that either so maybe it was just as well.  Yeah, I know.  I'm a lightweight.
We went to visit my brother Matt, his wife Greta, and their 5 year old daughter, Ari.  They've just moved to Utah from Indiana.  We had a fun visit while Ari (who is obsessed with Scooby Doo) kept saying she'd found some clues, and that the mystery was almost solved.  (We never knew what the clues were or what mystery was being solved...) It's been a long time since I've seen Matt, and it was so fun laughing and visiting with him.  Love my brother.
Monday was spent out and about with the camera, taking pictures of the lovely architecture in Salt Lake City.  There's a wonderful 100 year old cathedral there that has fascinated me since I was a little girl.  On Monday I finally went inside and oh my - it was amazing!  The outside is awesome enough: tall and massive with ornate carvings and even gargoyles looking down from the top.

But when you go inside, your senses will explode from the beautiful ornateness of it all.  I have to apologize for this first image.  I jiggled the camera and it's blurry, but you can get the idea of what the chapel looked like from the back looking forward:

Isn't that just amazing?!?  And here's a detail of the ceiling:

Gorgeous.  The floors were the loveliest hardwood and all softly burnished from the years of use.  I think the church is called St Madeleine.  In the front of the cathedral high up, there's a large round stained glass window with a loft and the organ pipes just adjacent.  It was hard to get a decent picture but here is a picture of that:

Actually, there were stained glass windows, tall and thin, that lined the walls from front to back.
Breathtaking.  I know it sounds odd to be so enamored of an old cathedral, but the craftmanship and art were truly awesome.  And I'd love to know the history of how that cathedral came to be built only about 40 years after the LDS temple.
Next door is a Presbyterian church.  Not quite as magnificent as the cathedral, but beautiful nonetheless.  Kind of grim and stern, yet stoic with it's heavy stone construction.

And the best for last: the LDS temple.  I've taken pictures of it during the day.  I wanted some of how it looks lit up at night - because I'm trying to learn how to do things with my camera.  And these turned out pretty well, I think:

We ended the day by driving up into Emigration Canyon to Ruth's Diner.  It's been there since the 1930s.  My friends, because I love you I'm telling you to go there immediately.  To start, we had deep fried Mac 'n Cheese.  I can't even describe the incredible deliciousness of that.  Creamy and cheesey with a crunchy crust.  Delectable.  I had grilled salmon with the freshest garden vegetables I've ever tasted (and no nasty broccoli).  For dessert: wild blueberry crisp with vanilla bean ice cream.  I didn't think I had a corner left to put it, but it was so good I couldn't help myself.  If you live in the area you need to go - no, RUN - to eat at Ruth's. And if you're not in the area, get on a plane.  You're welcome.
So that's the trip in a nutshell.  There was so much more, but this post is turning into a book.  Salt Lake City is one of my favorite cities.  Didn't used to be, but I find it so beautiful now.  It's kind of a mixture of Victorian charm mixed with the buzz of the university and the eclectic tossed salad of people. I really REALLY could have done without so much university buzz on Saturday night though.  U of U students should never be your next door neighbors on the 9th floor on a snowy Saturday night when the power goes out.


  1. I really enjoyed SLC when I attended the U. Wouldn't want to live there, but it's a fun place to visit.

    Sounds like your visit was an A+. And you are so lucky to have met Jess (and Emma), who are both darling! I will definitely look her up next time I'm in Utah.

    Looking forward to seeing you in my neck of the woods next week!


  2. I am glad you had such a fun time!
    There is alot to do in and around Salt Lake. Although I think having U of U crazies for neighbors is NOT good. Holy Moly - quite a bit of excitement in your hotel.

    I am assuming that Jess is one of your blogging friends - And it is always always SO FUN to meet blogging friends!!

    The pictures of the Cathedral are beautiful - Girl, You would LOVE Italy!!!

    And Ruth's Diner is on my "To Do" list...it sounds completely FAB!!


    Of all of it except the U students and the snow.

    I think you and I would be good vacationing buddies.

    And Jess and Emma.
    Oh you are just the luckiest ducky in the whole world. Jess' blog always makes me laugh.

    So glad you made it home safe and I really enjoyed your "little book" and pics.

  4. Sounds like you had a good time. Too bad you weren't able to go to the conference center but at least you were able to watch on TV. Sorry about the winter weather but I guess we were all sorry about it. What a joke!
    I've never been to Ruth's Diner. It would take over an hour to get there but sounds like it would be worth it.

    Great pictures of the cathedral and the temple.

  5. What an eventful few days!! From the hair dryer in your undies to meeting the cute girls and shopping to seeing the churches...it all sounds like a magnificent time! Glad you had fun and took great pictures!!

  6. I had such a great time- I'm so glad we got to play on Saturday, and thank you for humoring my Emma- she's a great big ball of fun and energy. She loves that necklace you bought her- who knew $3.99 could do so much? You're far too generous in your description of me- thank you.

  7. Love all the pics! Great job :) I just posted some of Mia on the beach on my photography blog.


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