Thursday, August 19, 2010

The important thing about Jesse

This is the obligatory anniversary post. A bit belated, but that's how I do everything these days.

When I was in elementary school my grandma gave me The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon for Christmas. It was published in 1949. I thought it was about as thrilling as going to the dentist, but that's because I had no imagination and a limited tolerance for things that looked deceptively boring. Years later I discovered that it's a useful model text for secondary language arts teachers because it follows a specific pattern that students can imitate, yet personalize in interesting ways. The author describes the important things about a variety of items found in nature. Every page starts and ends with, "The important thing about _______, is _______. In between the first and last two sentences are descriptive details. For example, here's what she says about snow:

The important thing about snow is that it is white. It is cold, and light, it falls softly out of the sky, it is bright, and the shape of tiny stars, and crystals. It is always cold. And it melts. But the important thing about snow is that it is white.

If Jesse were a page in this book, here's what it would say:

The important thing about Jesse is that he picked me.

He thinks I look nice even when I exhibit swine-flu like symptoms, and he will still let me back in the house when I return from the salon with a haircut that looks like I did it myself with my eyes closed.

He doesn't care if I bowl 10 gutter balls in a row at the bowling alley, and he can do fractions without a calculator.

Jesse looks like a man, and smells like a man.

And he does t
he laundry.

But the important thing about Jesse is that he picked me.

August 17, 2005, Salt Lake City

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This is the place!

I can die happy now that I've been to This is the Place Heritage Park. We went for the Rich family reunion a few weeks ago. If you haven't been yet, I highly recommend it for the eye-opening experience and the likelihood that it will instill feelings of gratitude for modern technological advances. As I walked through Old Deseret Village with its restored pioneer buildings and houses, I had an epiphany: I might have made a half-way decent pioneer!

Living in Alaska was like being a pioneer. Sort of.

For one thing, I didn't see any toilets in the replica homes. The word toilet probably did not enter my vocabulary until I was five. Yet somehow I remember hearing stories about being an extrinsically motivated potty trainer. I was bribed with sweets. So maybe I had a toilet while my parents didn't. Fortunately, I was too young to remember those halcyon days without indoor plumbing. I have no recollection whatsoever of the "honey bucket," a crude sort of chamber pot with ten times the storage capacity. Wikipedia's entry on the honey bucket says the following: "The honey bucket sits under a wooden frame affixed with a toilet seat lid. These [buckets] are often the same type of plastic five–gallon (19 liter) buckets used for shipping many paints, cleaners, and solvents, as well as institutional quantities of food products" (emphasis mine). So naturally, a few questions arise in my mind: where did my parents keep said honey bucket? How often was it emptied, and where? I suppose the only honey bucket related memory I have is when I was a junior in high school and went on a cross country running trip to the village of Buckland. Our team was instructed to give the big red dumpster on the side of the trail a wide berth because it was filled with you know what. That was in 2001.

Okay, moving on.

Before age five, I lived in a 16 x 24-foot plywood shack, raised several feet off the ground, like all the other houses, on a hill overlooking the spruce-lined banks of the river in a village called Noatak (Noah-tack) with the Baird Mountains rising behind the trees. There were maybe two rooms. One of them was a bedroom with a home-made bed of my dad's own Posturepedic design. It consisted of layers of thick foam atop an arrangement of mismatched oil drums; some stood higher than others and created a lumpy, uneven sleeping surface (same concept as the returned missionary sleeping on top of his food storage in The RM). In this room we often woke up with the blankets frosted to the walls after the temperature dipped to -60 in the winter.

The second room doubled as a space for everything else. It was a room filled with the smells of diced caribou flanks frying in garlic or baked chum salmon, or the mozzarella cheese sandwiches with salsa on 12-grain bread my dad ate when he came home for lunch. It held the water supply, hauled by my dad in five-gallon buckets (water buckets, not honey buckets) up the hill from the Noatak River; the buckets sat in a corner while the gray river silt settled at the bottom before the water was boiled for cooking, drinking, and bathing. And speaking bathing, my sister and I took turns getting pots of warm water dumped over us while we sat in large plastic Rubbermaid tubs. It held an oil drum woodstove around which clothes wet socks, mittens, and hats were hung to dry after getting soaked in knee-deep snow during snow machine excursions. It held a dilapidated couch draped in the fur of a brown bear shot by my dad in his bachelor days. It was filled with drawings, since Merella and I were allowed to color on the walls, and I used the space to practice writing my name. Before the shack was torn down I imagine one could have found crayon murals of purple moose and pink princesses intermingled with inventive phonetic preschool spellings of "Sarita" streamed across the walls. The second room also held boxes of Harry and David's pears shipped from Conway, New Hampshire, close to where my grandparents lived--they sent packages of fruit regularly to make my immigrated Filipino mom feel "more at home." A kind gesture that I doubt compensated for the lack of a toilet and a real kitchen.

Noatak was a town where you had to wait in line at the post office to make your phone calls and where the mail came on a plane (along with everything else in the village) a few times each month, and where you could find porcupines nesting under your house. It was the good life for sure.

Secondly, I used to "make my own clothes."
Sometimes. My mom got a sewing machine for a wedding gift and figured out how to use it all by herself. She made us itchy wool pants that chafed every square inch of skin they touched, fur hats, parkas, dresses for school. For my dad she made button-up shirts of the most vibrant tropical floral prints that suited her taste.

I didn't touch a sewing machine until I was in ninth grade. The first thing I recall making was a dress for an Anne of Green Gables doll. It took about a week to make and by the time I was finished, I decided I was ready to retire from my brief career as a seamstress. I took the easy way out and made all the rest of my doll clothes with a glue gun instead.

I took up sewing again in the months of April and May for the next three years. These months were filled with prom preparations and I refused to be caught wearing the same dress as someone else. This devastating tragedy happened to several of my friends. I was not interested in spending several hundred dollars on a dress that would be worn once and trailed through the mud and residual snow of May to get to the sparsely decorated high school gym. I made do with what I had at home--a story for another time. I estimate my total cost of attire for four proms to be under $15. Given my gifted nature when it comes to spending money, this is a miraculous figure. All it took were some beads and some ibuprofen to ease the backaches I acquired while bending for hours over the fabric of my dresses with needle and thread poised between my fingers. I cannot explain these bouts of irrationality I suffered every April and May. Any sane person would have just mail-ordered their dress over the Internet like everyone else...

Outside the General Store. Inside you can buy faux racoon fur hats, which reminded me of the one my mom made for my brother when he was in kindergarten. He wore it with a bright blue snowsuit until the tail fell off. Inside the General Store you can also buy candy called chipmunk and rattlesnake poop. The rattlesnake poop was more expensive. Then we saw "Bella Swan" whose appearance was much improved by a taxidermist.

One of 700 pictures we took somewhere in Old Deseret Village.

We went into a hotel that smelled like toothpaste and bacon but had an ice cream shop annexed on the side. We looked at the menu and saw flavors such as burnt almond fudge, cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, and play dough. Unlike every other ice cream shop in the United States, this one did not offer free samples, so I had to trust the boys behind the counter who promised that the ice cream only looked like play dough and did not taste like play dough. They said it tasted like bananas or Skittles. So I had to take their word for it. It tasted peachy.

We then took our ice cream into the building where the pioneers printed their newspaper. Each building in Old Deseret has one or more people dressed in pioneers supposedly "in character." "In character" for most of them just means that they are simply dressed in pioneer clothes. But the man in the print shop appeared to be stuck in the 1800s, because when asked a simple question that required one straight answer, "How long does it take to print the newspaper?" he proceeded to detail the differences between the pioneers and the Israelites based on the fact that one group had a newspaper and the other did not, while referring to the pioneers with first person pronouns. When it was clear that our question was not going to be answered, we backed away slowly toward the door and left.

How could I resist the schoolhouse? The "pioneer" hostess who gave her lecture on the life of school children included a lesson on the Deseret Alphabet--which is harder to read than it looks. We were also informed of punishments naughty children had to endure, including standing with their noses touching the wall and their arms stretched out behind them holding several pounds of books in each hand, and sitting on a stool in front of everyone wearing a dunce cap. And if they were really naughty, they had to bend over for spankings with a wooden paddle. Volunteers were singled out to demonstrate each of these punishments, and since me, Jesse, Barbara and Charles were pretty much the only ones in the room, we were asked to volunteer for everything--including the spanking. That last one was kind of awkward.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Going to the moon

Yesterday, our Primary kids were super naughty. I'd like to think that it's because we've been gone for several Sundays and had substitutes. But it's more likely that they're just indulging the latent kid version of Edward Hyde that lies within each of them. So, it was kind of a hard day at church, but I had this conversation with one of our kids, named Joey, while he was supposed to be participating in singing time, and it made me laugh.

Joey doesn't especially like to sing, so he turned to me and said, "Sarita, guess what?"


"When I grow up I'm going to be an inventor."

"Oh good! What will you invent?"

"I'm going to invent a rocket ship that will fly to the moon. When I get to the moon, I'm going to take it home. And flush it down the toilet."

"Hmm. The moon is huge! You're going to need a gigantic toilet--"

He held up his finger to silence me and said, "No! I'm going to shrink it and make the moon small. It's going to be smaller than my eyeball!"

"Oh, okay. Good luck with that."

Then he turned around and pretended to be interested in the song, "A Child's Prayer."

This was the highlight of Primary. It went downhill from there.

Death defying feats and wild ostrich chases (DDF and WOC)

Disclaimer: the following post has a Hyperbolic Quotient of approximately 9.53 out of 10.


Some might say that Shakespeare is so boring that they would consider it a death defying feat to sit through a whole play at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City without falling asleep. This almost happened to us when we watched Macbeth on our last day of the festival before heading out to Zion. Macbeth was just anticlimactic after the giant smoked turkey legs and meat pasties we had for dinner--sold by a vendor with a phony British accent--which we gnawed at on a bench in the rain outside of the open-air theater, and after The Merchant of Venice, which we saw the night before. Merchant was very well done, a performance that in some aspects--the casket scene with the dopey Prince of Morocco and the obscenely effeminate Prince of Aragon--rivaled Michael Radford's 2004 film version with Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Lynn Collins. It's just hard to take Macbeth, a very serious "psychological thriller" seriously when all the characters seem to be doing is screaming at each other and the witches look like they're doing a psychotic rendition of the Macarena.


Zion was the next stop. Looking back now, I'm not sure why we agreed on Zion. This vacation was supposed to be a "romantic getaway," relaxing, non strenuous. I was so caught up in getting away from my bubble of Murray that I forgot to consider that I seem to have developed a conditioned aversion to exercise. I forgot that hiking is strenuous. I forgot that hiking is not glamorous or romantic. These realizations came too late.

So there we were, hiking in Zion, sweating profusely in the heat and gathering thin films of orange dust--we later discover that this dust leaves obstinately impenetrable stains on our clothes. On day one we spotted three squirrels, 36 lizards, the antlers of two unidentifiable ruminants of the family Cervidae rustling in the brush, and two young owls perched on tree branches with an aerial view of all the sweaty hikers panting below them. Jesse actually found them because he is coordinated enough to look up without slipping or stumbling, while hiking the trail. The owls were so quiet that any unobservant spectator, i.e., me, would have missed them.

Dinner could have been a DDF, I suppose, based on the restaurant I chose for dinner. Springdale, the town just outside of the park is basically one long street flanked with gift shops, hotels, restaurants, and an apple farm. And one random stucco mansion. Jesse said he wanted to eat somewhere interesting. So I misinterpreted his claim and picked a weird place called Wild Cat Willie's with carved wooden vultures overlooking your food at the top of each booth, catfish on the special's menu, signs that said, "If anything happens to my daughter, I've got a .45 and shovel. I doubt anyone would miss you" and "No husband has ever been shot for doing the dishes," and a beer menu with fifteen options, some of which included "Dogfish Head Snowblower Ale," "Polygamy Porter," and "Fiddler's Elbow."

We just ordered pizza.


On day two we almost died. The infamous Angels Landing hike awaited us--five miles round-trip, a ridge that ascends 1500 feet above the valley floor below, elevation gain of 1520 feet, estimated hiking time: four hours. The tour guide on the shuttle warned that this hike is one of the most popular in the park, although not recommended for people afraid of heights--especially the last half mile, the steepest, narrowest part of the hike. I'm not sure what compels acrophobes to hike this peak. Most intrinsically motivated people just find the 360-degree views of Zion Canyon--the reward for reaching the top--exhilarating. I was motivated to risk being carried away in a stretcher, unconscious, with broken limbs, to the sound of wailing ambulance sirens by my undying love for my true and faithful companion.

The Zion Hiking Guide includes the following "Special Notes" about Angels Landing:

1) "For those bold enough to hike all the way out to the Landing, sections of chain provide a measure of security along the most exposed sections of upper trail."

This is not true. Had Jesse had both hands free during this part of the hike, he would have taken a picture of the sign that said, "DANGER! FOLLOW THE TRAIL. 1200 FOOT DROP BELOW," offset by pink construction tape--this is not the equivalent of chains.

2) "Please do not invite or feed the persistent chipmunks to avoid bites, torn clothing, and the hostile takeover of your backpack."

The outsides of Zion’s shuttles display ads of a person's hand, zoomed in on the inflamed and bloody holes left by one of the "persistent chipmunks" that was apparently fed, or not fed enough, by an unsuspecting hiker. These ads did not deter me. I still wanted to feed them. Especially when they came scampering right up to my feet. If it weren't for Jesse, I could very well have been the new Zion Canyon poster child for its 2011 anti "Death by Chipmunk" campaign.

3) "Many oblivious hikers carve their name in the rock as some sort of cult-like ritual--please do not join in; fortunately, the views supersede the vandalism from this awe-inspiring perch."

I only saw one act of vandalism, of the "B + J 4EVA" variety inscribed in a heart, so maybe this request has been effective.

I would have been much better off on this hike if I hadn't entertained recurring thoughts of plummeting to a gruesome death by taking one misplaced step--thoughts of impending doom in the same vein as those I indulged at Magic Mountain a few years ago where I vividly pictured the roller coaster cars derailing at the top of the 250 foot drop on the "Goliath." These kinds of thoughts are not helpful. At one point, well before the last .5 mile stretch, I refused to take one step further. Jesse had to coax me on by promising to take me shopping afterward and suggesting that I say a prayer. Why didn't I think of that?

I would have also been much better off on this hike if the French kids (yes, kids) behind me had not been so close that they were practically shouting in my ears. Probably having a conversation about me and Jesse along the lines of "Why are these Americans so slow?! They climb like sissies!" To which I would have gladly responded, "Hey, Jacques Strappe, the Americans who climb like sissies don't have Mont Blanc in their back yard and would also like to live to see the bottom of this mountain, thank you very much, so just chill out, je vous en prie!!"

When Jesse was serving in the bishopric of a single's ward a few years ago, Bishop Johnson brought kayaks to a ward activity at the Provo River. He suggested that every couple considering marriage should test their aptitude for sympathetic emotional endurance, patience, and general mindreading skills by attempting to navigate a kayak along a swift current. We tried it. I fell out of the kayak and into the river, considered bludgeoning Jesse with my paddle, and stomped around in my soggy shoes for a few minutes once we reached land. By then it was too late for Jesse to back out because by then he was already stuck with me. My point: if you don't have a kayak, go hike Angels Landing before you get engaged.


As promised, Jesse took me shopping in St. George after we had rubbed our skin raw from scrubbing the orange dust off ourselves. On the way back to the hotel, Jesse took note of a bright pink and black sign that advertised for cactus jelly. Half a mile later, we passed a sign that said "fresh ostrich eggs" and listed a phone number. "We should have bought some cactus jelly," said Jesse, because "I like to try new things." So we pulled over, turned around, and searched for the cactus jelly. When we found it, we pulled up to what looked like an abandoned house with a box reading "place money here thank you" next to a table of jelly with the consistency of liquid Kool-Aid. Yum.

We drove on to find the ostrich eggs. We saw the sign too late and had to pull over and turn around, only to find that nobody was home, according to the signs on the gate that said "be back in 15 minutes. gone for feed." So we waited, admiring the ostriches until they fell asleep. We read the other signs on the gate: "please be patient. one-man band slow, may be running 1/4 mile," and "please try twice, slowly, if calling," and "feed ostriches from your hand $2.00" (this sign was uprooted and lay on the ground with the dollar amount crossed out, because, as Jesse guessed, "Someone probably had their eyes poked out trying it, so he thought it wasn't such a good idea anymore.")

Fifteen minutes passed and no humans appeared. Apparently, we were in a town called Virgin, Utah (population: probably 10) and we didn't get cell phone reception, so we couldn't call. So we left. Jesse instructed me to hold the cell phone and alert him the moment bars appeared on the screen. Minutes later, I saw two bars pop up and we pulled over and I left a message after the answering machine's generic voice recording. I doubted we would get a call back.

But we did. "The ostrich man" called at 8AM the next morning and I couldn't tell if he was drunk, or hung over because he sounded like Lyle on Napoleon Dynamite who slurs through his lines about Shoshone arrowheads. But he was neither. We just had bad reception, even in the hotel. We said we'd be there in one hour.

When we got there the gate was still locked and no trace of human life to be found. We stood there for a while and when I was about to give up and get back in the car, Jesse found the cooler, on the other side of the fence, with a rope attached to it so that he could pull the cooler up and over, choose an egg, and pay $15 in the box that said "place money here thank you." I guess that's how they roll in Virgin, Utah, intrepid salespeople of odd novelties without fear of being ripped off by tourists.

The ostrich man (we never did get his name--didn't want to get too personal) came lumbering up the hill to say howdy with his bowl of oatmeal in hand, grizzled white hair turning yellow, 9 o'clock shadow, neon blue cut-off tank top with greasy shorts and hiking boots, socks rolled up over the top (the only thing missing was his shotgun). "You want to know the secret to saving the shell?" were the first words out of his mouth. He proceeded to tell Jesse how to poke a hole in the bottom and extract the egg without cracking the shell of the three-pound egg. We had all sorts of questions, but had to limit ourselves for the sake of courtesy, so I asked where he got his ostriches.

Ostrich Man (OM): "I got them in Ocean Side, California, brought them up here and sell a few now and then to a friend in Colorado City, where they got a zoo up there."

Me: "How long do they live?"

OM: "Oh, they'll live for 80 years and be productive for 40."

Jesse: "Are they good eating?"

OM: "I've got 33 birds and I used to butcher about 5 a year but this year I've only eaten about three because they got ornery."

Me: "What do they do in the winter?"

OM: "They just sit there with snow on their backs and wait for the storms to pass."

This made me think of ostrich-shaped snowmen that would have inspired envy in the snow art of Calvin and Hobbes, and ostriches huddled in snow banks with conical snow piles on top of their heads.

The WOC ended with some small talk about the poor cell phone reception and the OM pointing to a brand new cell phone tower that had been recently installed. Apparently it didn't work well because any time he wanted to use his cell he had to run across the street, climb the hills, and hold out his phone until he found a spot that picked up the signal. Kind of like a water diviner wandering the land for a hot spot with their sticks crossed in front of them.


We made it home without any other incidents. Jesse’s parents arrived a few hours later for the family reunion that was scheduled for August 4-7. The next morning we cooked half the egg and tried to make it look as normal as possible by adding mushrooms, cheese, onions, and fresh bell peppers and tomato slices from Barbara and Charles's garden in California. We tried to make breakfast look more enticing by offering fried potatoes and cantaloupe and cactus jelly toast. Charles, Jesse and I agreed not to announce that we were eating ostrich eggs until Barbara had finished. She got Jesse back by instigating a covert rubber alligator-hiding operation. She slipped me the goods and I hid them under Jesse's pillow. At 12:01 AM Jesse’s unearthly screams woke the whole house.

I think it will take about two weeks to finish the rest of the egg.

Entering Cedar Breaks hours before watching Macbeth in Cedar City.
Jesse, looking manly at the top of Cedar Breaks.
Somewhere before near Cedar Breaks. It looks a lot like Alaska, only without the mountains.
Outside of our Zion Canyon hotel, trying to look glamorous.
Overlooking Zion Canyon, trying not to look sweaty.
Jesse, exploiting his mountain goat genes.

They just sat up there, blinking their big eyes and craning their fluffy necks from side to side, exhibiting a useful defense mechanism: appear to be as boring as possible so that hikers will move on and leave you alone so you can take a nap in peace. They were so cute. I wanted one.
Two minutes into climb up Angels Landing. See those minuscule green clumps of trees eclipsed by the blinding sunlight? That's the top.

Jesse loves hiking! He's standing on one of several lookouts, or "false peaks" that we thought were the top of Angels Landing. The narrow ridge behind him is the beginning of the last .5 mile!
Sarita loves hiking too!

Ostrich #28.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Starved for adventure

While I was working with the Writing Project we did "writing marathons," which were established by the New Orleans Writing Project. The basic idea is that you get with a group and walk, talk, write, and share your writing in interesting places. The designated parameters of our writing marathon included anything on American Fork's Main Street (since CUWP was held nearby in American Fork).

AF Main Street has several antique stores and consignment shops. On one marathon I stood with my group on a street opposite of Finders Keepers, a store whose brightly colored furniture arrangements in the windows caught my eye from a distance. I said, "We have to stop there!" while pointing in its general direction. My group just laughed at me. Then I looked at the store next to it and read the sign: Husband and Wife Lingerie. How did I miss this sign printed on a flashy red background in black and white letters?

One thing guaranteed by a writing marathon properly organized is that while you're walking along with your group, the sensory overload--sights, sounds, tastes, smells, etc.--and conversation topics that naturally arise inspire ideas for writing. For example, while one of the two male teachers in our group was passing Husband and Wife with all the women in his group, he overheard a teacher joke about the poor taste of the lacy corsets that clung to the headless mannequins like blue and red cobwebs. Another teacher said, "That's the whole idea! When you're buying lingerie you
want to be cheap and tawdry!" So later the male teacher started a humorous essay on the baffling and complicated nature of girls' underwear.

Another curious thing that's bound to happen on a writing marathon, if it's done right, is that when you stop in a restaurant or a cafe, or somewhere with food (every writing marathon
must have places with food) writing almost seems easier. People loosen up around food--whether it's good or bad. This is how I discovered Flour Girls and Dough Boys, a site popular with this year's CUWPies, and a bakery that made me think of China, of all places.

July 1, 2010:

We're sitting in
Flour Girls and Dough Boys with its orange checkered floor and teal walls. Chandeliers, like clusters of sparkly tears suspended above the tables. Shelves hold curvy glass jars filled with gumdrops. One wall is full of an assortment of empty picture frames and clocks, each with a different time.

Glass cases with slabs of mint brownies the size of small bricks, and loaves of sourdough bread that look like blooming flowers, fresh out of the oven. Everything arranged in trays lined with perfectly cut squares of wax paper. Little hand-decorated cards, propped in front of the trays, bear names like "Tinkerbell Cupcake," "Goldilocks Cake," and "Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies"--this buttery, flaky, cookie studded with dark Ghirardelli chocolate morsels is a favorite of customers. The whole place smells like Christmas--including the bathroom.

This is
Flour Girls and Dough Boys. It's neat, clean, and sits off the corner of Main Street in American Fork. Everything in Main Street is similar--shops inside the buildings, safe, closed to open air.

This morning Merella sent me pictures of China. She's in Bejing where her pictures captured a scene so different from where I'm sitting now. She showed me pictures of
food markets outside under tent pavilions, the stalls lining entire streets with their own trays and labels. There are rows of typical fruits and vegetables labeled in English and Chinese characters: soy beans, mushrooms, lettuce, gourds, satsumas, guavas, lemons and limes. Intermingled among the fruits and vegetables are pans of beetles--longhorn and water beetles, shishkebobbed in neat lines just like the bee cocoons and silk worms. Scorpions of various sizes, deep fried or impaled on skewers spiked from the heads of cabbages. Cuts of pale pink snake meat are splayed on beds of ice next to the curling octopus legs and torpedo-shaped squids.

Back to real time:

When I saw these pictures I thought: 1) I'm glad I'm in America with my cookies and Diet Coke; 2) I have to go to China!!!

Which made me realize that I was starved for adventure. After spending most of the summer at school and work, Jesse was too. Earlier in the year we were set on going to the Philippines but those plans fell through at the last minute. So we had to think of something else, fast. We actually considered going to China to pick up Merella after her study abroad program finished in mid August. When we realized it wasn't going to work out, we thought about other options, places we'd never been before. Hawaii. Road trip to New Orleans. Mexico. Caribbean or Alaska cruise. None of the cruises we wanted fit with our schedule.

So, after about five minutes of deliberation, we settled on the exotic locale of Cedar City, Utah! We bought tickets to the Shakespeare Festival and afterward we decided to spend a few days in Zion National Park. Neither of us had been to either Utah attraction, so we decided to see what each had to offer. We left Friday, July 30th and came home on Wednesday, August 4th. Stay tuned for the accounts of our harrowing excursions and the souvenirs we brought home.