Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday of Firsts...

In addition to learning how to fly fish, I also learned how to make candy canes. Rather, I should say that I learned how candy canes are made. There is something about traditions that make the holidays that much better. This was a tradition that I was allowed to be a part of. Apparently, the tradition goes back quite a few generations and continues in the modest kitchen of an elderly couple from Layton.

I rang the doorbell and waited patiently on the porch for someone to open the door. The warmth of their home was the perfect contrast to crisp night air outside. They had just finished rolling/forming the candy canes from the first licorice. If you know me, you know I love black licorice. I sampled a few of the small broken pieces that had cooled just enough to be edible.

I was introduced to everyone as we waited for the second batch to be prepared. For those of you like me, who have never made a candy cane, I'll give you the readers digest version. The batter (I guess that's what you would call it) is brought to a boil on the stove. After it has reached the perfect temperature it his poured out onto a cold marble stone (the size and shape of a cutting board), as it cools it is folded over itself until it is 'cold' enough to be handled. The quotations marks are there because it is not really cold. In fact, it is still hot enough that if you were to hold it in your hands they would be burned quite easily. The flavor is added and then it is then placed on a hook where it is pulled, twisted, and then pulled again. It is to allow air to work it's way into the batter and 'cool' it quickly and effectively.

The stripes are then added to batter and it is pulled and rolled into smaller rolls and each is then individually shaped into candy canes. Apparently, that is the ONLY shape they are supposed to be made into. I was warned against making any other shapes...I deviated from that counsel and made a heart out of the root beer flavored batter. If you know me, you know I love root beer.

The third time is the charm. By the third time everyone had been taught the part they would play and it went off without a hitch. The third and final flavor...cinnamon. If you know me, you know I love cinnamon.

After the candy canes were formed and bagged, we were each given a treat bag to take home. After we had finished making the candy canes we sat and listened as they told stories of how they met, their courtship, and their lives in general. I love old people. It made me miss my own grandparents and the memories I shared with them. Those memories left a better taste than black licorice, root beer or cinnamon ever could. If you know me, you know I love my grandparents.

Fly Fishing...

For some 'black Friday' began as early as 10pm on Thursday night. For me, it began a little after 9 am. I got off to a late start and skipped breakfast. Stink wanted me at his house at 10am...I told him no. I knew myself well enough to know that I would not be there that early, so I reluctantly committed to 11am. By 10:45 I was sitting on his living room couch. He was going to take me fly fishing for the first time.

We left his house around 11:30 and I made him stop at Wendy's before going to the river. Bacon Cheeseburger in hand, we drove up the dusty dirt road and pulled up alongside a couple of other cars parked on the side of a gated-pasture. We sat in the bed of the truck getting ready to walk out to the river. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Once we had put on our waders and assembled our fishing poles we set out for the water.

I had debated whether or not to bring my camera with me. After realizing that we would be walking through the river and that I didn't not bring my waterproof bag, I decided to leave it locked up in the truck. I imagine we looked like the 2009 version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as we walked through the open field and alongside the river. We found a safe spot to cross and when we reached the other side we began 'rigging up.' Aaron (aka Stink) taught me the basics of tying of hooks and the proper way to cast.

By that time the weather, the kind that was 'better than we could have asked for' had changed. It was cold but not unbearable. We stood thigh-high in the water and continued to cast and mend the lines in hopes of catching fish. That never happened. I'm not sure if it was the pessimist in me or the realist, but I had no intention of catching any fish anyway. The good news is, I was not disappointed. Instead, I just enjoyed myself.

For me, fly fishing was never about catching the fish. Sure, I paid $26 for my 365 day license but that was just to make it legal. Instead, it was about learning something new. It was about being outside and being able to clear my mind. It was about appreciating nature, seeing bald eagles and deer in their natural environment. It was about being inconsequential in comparison to the grandeur around me. And, it was about spending time with a friend and creating great memories.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blog Names

I sat talking with a friend earlier this week about creative blogs names that have already been taken...

One of the most frustrating thing is to come up with a 'great' blog name only to find out that it has already been taken by someone else and it's even worse when that blog hasn't been updated in years.

I'm sure I don't run the risk of anyone really wanting the tscotriverside blog address but I figured that is not a good enough reason to stop updating it. Of the 35 posts I've made since I've started this blog, there is a large percentage of them that refer specifically to this same idea...

So, I won't spend any time tonight trying to recap the events of the past month, I'll just make a renewed commitment to do it going forward...