On Sunday evening, I met up with a small gathering of friends at a local restaurant for our annual Day After Christmas party. The first such party in 1999 started at midnight and drew over twenty people; this year, it started at seven and eleven made it. I learned about the engagement of D., a close high-school friend, and her sweetheart of a couple of years. Not much had changed among the others. We retired to bootsuu's duplex (which he owns! wow!) afterward.
I spent Monday evening with gooeyduck, who is finishing her graduate program in architecture this spring. We chatted over rich, syrupy hot chocolate at Cocoa Cafe downtown, then retired to her place to look at pictures. She spent a month on the big island of Hawaii with her family last June, and nearly chose it as the site of her final project (but decided on San Francisco instead - which is fine with me, since it means she will be visiting me!). She also built a sustainable house in southern Utah as part of a class last spring, and traveled to Spain and Berlin with an architecture class last summer, so she had lots of pictures to show us. She started with her Hawaii pictures and told us where to go on our upcoming trip, then moved on to the sustainable house. I'll write another post on the details of the house, including rammed earth, straw bale, recycled materials, solar, rainwater collection, and other parts of construction. (I've been encouraging her to put up a photo-journal as well. It's a really awesome house, and even won a prestigious Utah AIA honor award.) From her Berlin pictures, I gained an appreciation for minimalism I haven't had before. I was also surprised that she isn't as keen on the work of Gehry as I am. I came away wanting to study more design. I think I'm a closet architecture geek.
My friends and I were planning to go snowshoeing on Thursday afternoon, but three of them bailed, so temperategoddss, dag29580863, and I had lunch at the Park Cafe and went mud-shoeing up to windy Ensign Peak instead. Afterward we played Scrabble at Cocoa Cafe (again), and then dag29580863 and I had dinner with my mom and stepdad.
On Wednesday my uncle's Christmas present of aikido weaponry finally came in through backlogged USPS, so on Friday dag29580863 and I met my uncle, aunt, and two cousins (one three years old, the other three months) for breakfast so I could give his present to him. Afterward, we went to Hogle Zoo with them, which was uncrowded but chilly. I wrote about the evening in another post.
I tried to get my family to convene at One World Cafe for their Saturday morning brunch, but learned an hour before meeting time that it was closed (One World doesn't have a phone, so I couldn't easily check in advance) and had to hastily find a new place. Later that afternoon, I was about to leave for gooeyduck's when my stepmom called my cell, hysterically crying that she had just been in an accident. She was just paying the attendant in the Taco Bell drive-through when the old fellow behind her apparently mistook the gas for the brake and pushed her out into the street where her back left side was hit by a white truck. She spun out and the old fellow continued across the street and smashed into a restaurant on the other side. My stepmom had some whiplash and I helped her fill out the paperwork to give her hand a break. My baby brother was also in the car, but was completely unhurt and not even upset.
dag29580863 and I drove my new vehicle back to California. We made it through the Sierras before they got especially bad.
Pictures are online here (or will be shortly, if you read this in the next few minutes).