Saturday, February 21, 2009

Valentine’s Day Rebuttal

It has been a week since Valentine’s Day, and over the past seven days I have heard a lot of boo-hooing about this particular holiday. So many people seem to have cynical attitudes about Valentine’s Day! I can’t even begin to tally the instances where I’ve heard someone say that V-Day is nothing more than a marketing ploy invented by greeting card companies…or that it’s a cheap excuse for shallow romance and unnecessary gifts…or that Valentine’s Day is a fake holiday where relationships are irrelevant and women are simply competing over who will get the most expensive bouquet of flowers from their significant others. I even know a particular someone who used his blog to immortalize his opinion that the traditions of February 14th force men to “perform like circus monkeys.”

I acknowledge that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have any kind of firm foundation as a holiday. It wasn’t built around a religious occasion…it doesn’t represent any significant event in our history…and it doesn’t carry any deep symbolism. But you know what? WHO CARES?!

What is really so bad about one day a year where we are all reminded to show extra love and consideration to the important people in our lives? Yes, I know that we should be expressing our love all 365 days of the year and not just on Valentine’s Day. But where is there written a rule that says Valentine’s Day compels you to only put forth extra effort this one day a year and, by doing so, makes the other 364 days obsolete? I know it can be difficult to keep the fires of love burning every single day of the year. We all tend to get wrapped up in our busy lives, and sometimes we forget to divulge the little tokens of affection that are paramount to making your loved ones feel valued and appreciated. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel those things…sometimes we just need to be reminded of our priorities. And that’s how I perceive Valentine’s Day! What’s wrong with a little kick in the pants get us back on the right track?

I agree with the naysayers about one thing: Valentine’s Day shouldn’t necessarily require gifts or flowers or spending money. I don’t think possessions or monetary rewards represent happiness or love, and I most definitely appreciate simple kindness and sweet sentiments over anything purchased from a store. But once again, where is it written that gifts must be involved in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and people can say whatever they want about the triviality and cheesiness of Valentine’s Day. But as for myself, I have a great appreciation for a day that includes lots of extra kisses…heart-shaped candy…listening to sappy love songs all day…chocolate-covered strawberries…free Facebook gifts that you get to digitally unwrap…sparkling cider…colorful little dinosaur cards that say things like “You’re dino-mite!”…mushy romance movies…holding hands…and countless other little joys.

Whether you’re on a date, or with friends, or snuggled up at home with someone…what could possibly be so awful about a holiday that emphasizes being grateful for the people in our lives?

And on that note, I’d like to say…YAY Valentine’s Day! You were good to me this year. I look forward to seeing you again next February.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Walking on Water

Easton and I spent a day in Park City for Valentine’s Day and we had so much fun! Our day was frivolous and playful and full of silliness. We shopped, ate an amazing dinner, played in the snow, and consumed a multitude of chocolate-covered fruit. I loved it!

As many of you know, I am NOT a fan of snowy weather…but Park City is just so gorgeous when it is covered with snow! I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face (although my smile may have been a little distorted by the chattering of my teeth).

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As we passed Deer Creek Reservoir on the way home, I noticed several people ice fishing and commented on the fact that I haven’t ever stepped foot on a frozen body of water. Easton immediately pulled the car over and suggested that I broaden my horizons by trying something new.

As we approached the edge of the lake, I quickly noticed that the ice did NOT look exceptionally thick and I began to question our endeavor. Easton told me that he knew what he was doing and I needed to trust him, after which he confidently walked towards the lake. When he stepped onto the ice I heard little crackling noises and I could see bubbles shifting under his weight. Does that sound stable to you? No way! So I promptly began skirting the perimeter of the lake to find a sturdier entry point.

I soon came to an area that looked fairly solid and tapped the edge with my foot to test its firmness. The ice felt pretty secure and, satisfied with my assessment, I took a step forward…and my foot plunged into knee-deep frigid water! I screamed and stumbled backwards, and Easton just roared with laughter and yelled, “See, you should have trusted me!”

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Despite the fact that my foot was frozen and weighed nearly a hundred pounds, I allowed Easton to help me onto the ice and we played around on the surface of the reservoir for a while.

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Even though my lower extremity was on the verge of frostbite, I was totally overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape. The snow was pure white and the mountains looked like they were straight out of a painting.

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When it was time to leave, I begrudgingly walked behind Easton so that he could use his keen abilities to guide us safely to solid ground. As we neared the edge of the lake, Easton told me that he would go first and I should follow by stepping into his footprints. He dauntlessly walked forward…and managed to take a few steps before both feet suddenly plummeted through the ice! He gasped and did the most hilarious little dance while skipping the rest of the way to the edge. I pretty much died with laughter and cursed the fact that I hadn’t videotaped his little exhibition!

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Moral of the story: Next time you’re participating in a potentially dangerous activity and a guy tells you that there’s nothing to worry about and you should just trust him…you might want to think twice!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Viva La Mexico!

A bunch of us went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera last month and it was absolutely incredible! The past few months have been SO stressful and this vacation was the perfect way to purge myself of a mountain of anxiety.

Our first stop was Puerto Vallarta and we spent the majority of our day on a zip-line tour through the jungle. The zip-line course was built around the movie set of “Predator,” so we occasionally had scary alien action figures jumping out of the bushes to startle us. They were lucky that I didn't reflexively pop them with the big steel pulley I was carrying!

Puerto Vallarta 01

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Zip-lining was a blast! We all had so much fun and the scenery was unbelievably gorgeous. Our tour guide referred to Easton as “Grande” the whole time, and I won’t deny that everyone looked pretty nervous every time he came flying into each station at warp speed.

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After the zip-line tour we spent some time exploring Puerto Vallarta. What a beautiful city! I was so sad when we were forced to get back on the cruise ship later that night.

Puerto Vallarta 04 Puerto Vallarta 05

Our second stop was Mazatlan! We got off the ship at the crack of dawn and made our way to a beautiful beach resort called El Cid. Our day in Mazatlan essentially consisted of eating (I just couldn’t get enough of that Mexican food), boogie boarding, and a lot of sitting around on the beach with my book…which is pretty much my idea of a perfect day!

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Our final stop was Cabo San Lucas, and I can safely say that Cabo was my favorite destination. We took a water taxi over to Lover’s Beach, which is the stretch of beach where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet (hence the name). I was completely astounded by the beauty of Lover’s Beach…words can’t even describe it!

Legend has it that if two people go into this little cave…three will come out! Wink wink. Don’t worry, we never actually made it to the cave…although Easton kept trying to lure me in there.Cabo 01

The section of ocean on the Pacific side of the beach was technically off-limits to swimmers because of the extremely powerful waves and currents…which naturally compelled all of the boys to run directly into the water.

They thought they were so rugged…Wave 01

…and too tough to steer clear of restricted water…Wave 02

…until the massive waves got ahold of them…Wave 03

…and gave them the beating of their lives.Wave 04

All the boys ended up with cuts and scrapes all over them, and Ben even popped his eardrum after being slammed into the ocean floor. I’m sure they considered their injuries a small price to pay.

We also had plenty of time for snorkeling, ultimate frisbee, wheelbarrow races, and shopping. I’m such a sucker for the street vendors.

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Cabo 03 Cabo 04

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Between ports we somehow managed to fill our time on the ship as well…

Cruise Ship 01

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I had so much fun on the cruise and I met lots of new people. I guess we all need a chance to escape reality sometimes, if only for the sake of our own sanity. But I suppose all good things must come to an end…and now I’m just wondering when I’ll get a chance to execute another escape plan!