Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

Our first Thanksgiving together was full of good food, friends, family, cousins big & small, and plenty of after dinner entertainment! It started on Thanksgiving EVE when I joined Jon and Rich for their annual tradition (signaling the start of the holiday season) which includes dinner and a movie, but the movie has to be what they call, "a good, bad!" After much debate and anticipation the selection this year was 2012 and it didn't disappoint - long, dumb, unbelievable but memorable, and most importantly it provided plenty of pointless quotes!





On Thanksgiving we headed to the Nelson's, they hosted the BIG dinner (all 29 of us, and it was only half the team) and since it was an "off" year for The Knowlton Family my parents were able to come too! The food was amazing, from monkey bread to homemade pies and enough mashed potatoes for an army, by the time it was over we were stuffed to the brim. The best part came after dinner with Jon playing the guitar and singing and all the cousins joining in on the chorus lines - "burn, burn, burn and the flames come higher!"
HAPPY THANKSGIVING
and here's to snow, skiing, lights and hot chocolate
in the weeks to come!

Friday, November 13, 2009

True Grit

I love westerns--old and new. Mostly because I love the archetypes; plots and characters. There's good, bad, conflict and resolutions. There's no ambiguity. The payoffs aren't as simple as a conflicted boy and quirky girl teaming up to scream into a deep chasm. And the clashes aren't created by a son returning home for his mom's funeral only to find that he still can't communicate with his dad.

No, westerns are gritty--they have teeth. The conflict is triggered by a killing and the resolution is earned by revenge. Case study 1 - True Grit. Mattie's dad is killed by Chaney so she hires Cogburn to "kill him back." Cogburn (played by John Wayne) is thought to be the one with grit but we soon find out that Mattie is the one the film/novel is named after. She relentlessly pursues Chaney, breaks her arm, is bitten by a rattler, even shoots Chaney in the stomach and eventually sees him die. Grit comes when a character faces conflict and overcomes it through strength.

That's what I've seen these past three weeks. The protagonist in this story is McCall, the antagonist is death. In an earlier post I wrote about us losing McCall's pregnancy--things escalated from there. The day after McCall received the chemo treatment she started bleeding internally. Within seconds she lost two cups of blood. We rushed from Park City to LDS hospital where the doctor had an operating room prepped for emergency surgery. McCall's dad and I gave her a blessing just before she was taken to the OR. For an hour we waited (Hooper, Shauna, Meme, William O., Dr. KGC and I) for news from the doctor. Last we heard they were going to remove a fallopian tube and maybe do a blood transfusion. The phone rang in the waiting room and I rushed over to answer. "McCall is in the recovery room."

I couldn't resist--although I knew I would get busted--I sneaked into the recovery room to see McCall's face. She smiled when she saw me and said, "Hi baby."

Although death has released it's grip, the last three weeks a different form of conflict has shown it's face. This one looks like pain (surgery), nausea (chemotherapy) and grief (loss). I have watched as McCall has pursued these three ugly faces, caught them, beat them and has come out a hero. In the process she's blackened her eyes, broken her bones and looked in some ugly, dark places but she's healed and has turned the dark places into light.

If McCall lived in the old west, she'd be a Mattie Ross fersure...or maybe a Betsy Ross.

Monday, October 26, 2009

THANKSGIVING came early this YEAR




Autumn is definitely my favorite season, especially Halloween, but this year we skipped right to Thanksgiving. There is nothing I love more than caramel apples and caramel corn, little pumpkins decorating the table and of course the feast (the picture is from a few years ago but sums up the holiday at our house pretty well.) Anyway, it came early this year because of the blessings we have experienced during the past week...a direct result of our dear family and friends!

It has come in all forms: prayers, blessings, emails, text messages, dinners, phone calls, flowers, favorite treats, visits, immediate answers to prayers, capable doctors, kind nurses, modern technology, and most of all loving and supportive family and friends. We couldn't make it without you and can't let this time go by without a sincere (well as sincere as a blog post can be) and heartfelt "thanks" for your many kindnesses on our behalf.

Thanksgiving also has a new and special meaning for me because this year I have Jon! The past week he has literally done it all, including making it from our apartment on main street Park City to LDS hospital in Salt Lake City in a record 23 minutes (and this particular time down Parley's Canyon every minute really counted!) His job description has not only included his normal CropChocolate.com responsibilities, but everything from cooking and cleaning to staying up all night just to make sure I get my pain medication right on time, to just being a listening ear as I have expressed my thoughts and feelings after an eventful few days. Jon has sustained me completely and continues to do so as we navigate this new path, and for that my gratitude continues to grow.

I am more thankful today than I thought I could be, not that it has been easy or that I would ever choose to repeat this experience, but I know and truly feel blessed because of so many of you and for that we will celebrate Thanksgiving early in 2009!



*Jon's brother Dan came to visit in the hospital and in honor of the chemo treatment I received earlier in the week he bought all the 50% off "breast cancer" apparel he could find! I am not posting this picture because it is a great one of me (turns out surgery will do that to you, or at least that is what I am telling myself!), but it sure did make us smile & laugh -- thanks Dan!
*Adding to our Thanksgiving, our parents! This was taken the first full day home and as she has always been my Mom is with me every step of the way, holding my hand just to make it easier. You may notice the "big gulp" on the side -- I hear they really improve healing and add to a fast recovery!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Joy. Pain. Sunshine. Rain.

I will never forget seeing McCall clear three flights of stairs in three giant leaps. Partially because McCall can't jump--I have film to prove it--but more because of why she was so excited. After spending over $300 on home pregnancy tests, McCall went to a clinic to confirm our suspicions about her being pregnant and the results came back positive. Over the past several weeks, McCall has exhibited signs of pregnancy which will not be mentioned to keep this PG.

For two weeks we've been walking on sunshine--so to speak. Today, on a rainy day, we found out that there were complications with the conception and McCall had to go in for a dose of chemotherapy--the baby won't be born on June 7ish as expected.

Through our joy of learning of McCall's pregnancy, our love for each other and the family that we were starting to create grew in heaps. Our weekly planning had a new perspective; our lives were moving in a direction that both McCall and I have wanted for years; our conversations included possible names for either a boy or girl--names like Gary and Lou Ann. Joy made our hearts swell until they overflowed with love.

Today the joy has taken a 180 degree turn as we learned of the complications of McCall's pregnancy. The pain of knowing McCall won't be giving birth in late May/early June has brought a different perspective to life--rather than a swelling of joy, we feel engorged with gratitude and peace. Gratitude that McCall is healthy--she started cramping and bleeding somewhere in the Arizona desert. Peace knowing that the prayers of our families have been answered and McCall is home safe tonight.

We see blessings through this experience: First, we know that we are able to conceive. Second, our love has grown through both the joy and pain. Third, McCall can start drinking Diet Coke again. Forth, we'll have a full ski season.

Of course the third and forth reasons are jokes but we are grateful for the first and second...and to our family and friends who have been so generous and supportive.

We love you all!

PS - no offense to the Garys and Lou Anns out there--it's just our light hearted nature.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to FALL






Fall has definitely arrived in Park City, Utah! After a couple of weeks of being in SLC/Bountiful/Centerville we came home to the full spectrum of colors. We had some extra time to enjoy dinner in the Uintahs -- notice the full harvest moon in the picture -- (and no we didn't go all out, we left the cooking to Barbacoa!), an afternoon drive on the Alpine Loop (my first time making the whole drive at once) and an evening hike in Jupiter Bowl (at a sizzling 23 degrees!)

We both LOVE these types of days; outside and playing in the Utah mountains! We enjoyed them alone or with friends up until almost a year ago (we met and began facebooking about this time last year) but now we get to do them together, and that is by far THE BEST part!

"Hooray for fast love, hooray for fast marriage!"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blueberry PANCAKES




This past week Jon and I got to watch a few our of nieces and nephews while their parents were out of town. They were so good for us and we had a great time and loved being one-on-one with each of them, but what I loved most was watching Jon truly in his element. He was up early every morning making blueberry pancakes (yes they did look and taste as good as the picture here), french toast, or scrambled eggs & cheese for the kids and then walking them to school with the dogs. I would come home from work to trade shifts and see him teaching the youngest (2 years old) to hit a ball with a mini baseball bat - definitely a future star in the making! He managed all this while continuing to run and grow http://www.cropchocolate.com/ and even got in a major truck repair with my Dad - what a week!

10 days into our dating relationship I met all of Jon's immediate family and knew from that moment (well actually even when we were just emailing I could tell how important family was to him) on that he would be an amazing dad one day (as he is the favorite uncle - no bias here!) but this week I got to see him firsthand and at his best!

Love you JON & thanks for making all of this possible!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

our weekend MUSICAL!

video

what you get when you mix:

1) 6am on a Saturday morning

2) Parley's Canyon

3) Diet Coke & String Cheese for breakfast

4) Les Mis soundtrack

5) Jonathan William Nelson

Our life is never boring and always full of surprises thanks to Jonny!

Love you Jon ValJonny!

*the BEST video, where Jon uses string cheese for a mic is taking forever to load but is coming soon or you may just have to come visit us to see it on my computer or in person!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

jon & mcCall’s top 10 summer activities



In no particular order…

1. Being on the lake with family
2. Evenings in Park City
3. Walking beamer at Willow Creek Park
4. Weekend road trips with friends
5. Gelato in Heber City at Spin Café
choc. hazelnut or PB/honey/banana
6. Bee’s games with fireworks
7. Guardsman Pass: hiking, driving, riding
8. The Canyon’s farmers market
9. Commuting to SLC together – best chats, laughs & fun
10. Summer with JON – or any season, day, week or month for that matter



So here’s to the last few weeks of summer and the perfect days ahead!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One Day in Ouray

Ouray, Silverton, Durango, and back.

video

Thursday, May 21, 2009

the PERFECT day!

Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan William Nelson
5.14.2009

We couldn't ask for more - thanks for all of your love & support!

Friday, May 8, 2009

WEDDING PRESENT

So, last week Jon and I went to Denver to help his brother move…well that is what I thought we were going to do, but as usual Jon surprised me with a wedding present! A couple of months ago I sold my road bike because I wanted to get a mountain bike so that Jon and I could ride together, but I thought I would work after the wedding and save up for a bike that would hopefully help me keep up with Jonny. On our ride over Jon threw a bike rack in the car (telling me it was for his brother so he could bring bikes over to SLC) and I didn’t think anything of it. We had talked a lot about bikes and even went to REI here in SLC to try some out, but the closest ones that would fit were in Boise or, you guessed it – DENVER!


So I had to go to the bathroom all the way from Vail to Denver but for some reason Jon really wanted to get to the REI store in Denver. Once again I didn’t think anything of it—the Denver REI is their flagship store and pretty famous so I was “holding” it so we could make it by 9pm and walk through the store. We pulled in just in time and ran into the bathroom and then walked each floor of the store. In the basement is the bike shop and I wanted to look at bikes, contemplating our future purchase, but Jon walked right up to the counter and asked if he could pick up a bike he had ordered. My first thought was, I hope he got a new bike (he was having his fixed and I thought maybe he needed the whole makeover and not just a few parts) but as soon as I looked at his face I knew the bike was for me!


In typical fashion I started to cry and couldn’t even speak, Jon hugged me and whispered “Please just wait until we get in the car!” With all the tough guys in REI it was quite a site to see me with tears, standing next to a bike watching Jon sign the receipt. What a SURPRISE! We took it right outside and I hoped on to try it out – it is PERFECT! The best part of the whole thing is that Jon got it for me so that we can spend time together riding this summer in Park City (we are moving there after the wedding for a few months) and continue to develop our relationship by doing the things we both love, together!


Thanks JONNY! My parent’s living room is full of beautiful glasses, pans, bowls, all sorts of amazing gifts but my very favorite is propped up against the wall – my new BIKE!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Sneek PEEK!


17 days and counting...FINALLY!

So, we had our engagement photos taken and you will see "the ONE" we picked but there were a lot of others that show our personalities much more than the traditional pose! We laughed, felt totally unnatural, tried to look serious in a few, but mostly just enjoyed being together - like always!

As the days get closer and closer I cannot believe how LUCKY I am to be with Jon and how amazed I am that it just keeps getting better! He does it ALL - plays with my nieces and nephews (they love him more than me but I am OK with that), cooks dinner, calls during the day, texts me when he gets home, fixes my car, enhances the relationships I have with my family members, love me for me, understands me better than I do myself and even comes to WEDDING SHOWERS and charms all the ladies! LOVE YOU JONNY - THANKS for the time of my life, and we have only just begun!




Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rocky Mountain Skies

One of the things I love most about my relationship with McCall is the time spent talking. It seams to me that when we go places the radio stays off and we talk about things that are most important in our collective and individual lives. Not all conversations are deep or life-changing--they are often free and easy. Like when she told me about her dad bringing home a dog for her when her mom was out of town--McCall got a dog and Hooper got a horse(s).

We drove to Colorado to visit my brother's family. We left early on Friday, April 3rd through Wyoming. The clouds sat low on the vast prairies and snow salted the landscape. Although the snow fell , the roads were clear making our travel time from Salt Lake City to Denver only 7 hours. I think we listened to one song.

We spent the weekend in a spring freeze so a lot of our time was indoors. My nieces, Isabel and Sophia, immediately took to McCall and McCall found them in her bed snuggling with her early in the mornings. Every time McCall sat down Sophia would quickly stake her claim on her lap. Children can quickly identify the authenticity of a person and my nephews and nieces have immediately taken to McCall because of her genuine love and happiness.

We went to several restaurants, a chocolate bar and the 2009 auto show. We had other plans but since it was 24 degrees with 60 MPH winds, an indoor event like the auto show was perfect. What's more, both McCall and I like cars so that was cool enough.

We took I70 home. I think one of the most beautiful stretches of Interstate is from Eisenhower Tunnel to Glenwood Springs. From Denver to the Eisenhower Tunnel the sky clear and sunny, we flew up the canyon with ease in the 4.2L twin turbo.

We honked as we entered the 1.6 mile long tunnel that sits at 11K feet above sea level expecting to be blinded by the sun as we exited. Not so. There are two weather systems when you're that high--one is the system on the east side of a mountain and the other is on the west. Since systems generally travel from the west to the east with an occasional SW to SE or NW to NE the weather can be drastically different as a storm gets pent up against the high mountain peaks. This was the case. There was several inches of new snowfall on the western exit of the Eisenhower Tunnel and instead if being blinded by the glare of the sun, we were blinded by heavy snowfall.

We were lucky, not only did the Allroad's massive engine motor up the mountain with great ease, the Quatro drive kept all four wheels gripping tightly to the slippery roads as we careened past cars that had stopped to wait the storm out. My brother Josh called us about an hour after exiting the tunnel to check if we were OK. Turns out, minutes after we shot out of the hole in the mountain, a 21 car pile-up ensued. We must have missed it by minutes...maybe even seconds.

Our adventure once again confirmed my love for McCall. Spending that much time in a closed metal box that's only 7'x15' doesn't give you much space for solitude...and thank goodness. When you're with a woman like McCall, you want to be as close as possible--even smooshed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

WE went to PARIS...The Paris!

DATE NIGHT - switched to WEDNESDAY
WOW, what a sweet surprise! Jonny called me yesterday morning and told me it was “date night!” We have been busy wedding planning and he has been working nonstop on CropChocolate (and is doing an awesome job by the way!) So…anyway, he still wanted us to have OUR time and gave me some special gifts: his undivided attention, a special feeling all day (weekend anticipation only on Wednesday instead), an amazing dinner at the perfect restaurant (see picture and our menu selections for the details) and most of all an added measure of the feelings that have come to defy our relationship, PEACE & JOY!
THANKS JON – Love YOU!
Tour De Marze Brie

(Garnished: Mesclun, Assorted Nuts, Fruit, Olives, Cornichon)


Butternut Squash Ravioli

(Sage Beurre Blanc, Pan Roasted Hazelnuts, Parmigiano Reggiano)


Rôtisserie Fresh All Natural Chicken

(Provençal Vegetable Fricassée with Olives Mélange, CousCous)


Warm Molten Chocolate Cake

(Served with Hazelnut Gelato & Candied Orange)


And my DIET COKE – of course!

Monday, March 23, 2009

25 things I LOVE about JON (25 is such a limiting number…)



With a few pictures to illustrate!

*In no particular order:


  1. He is my best friend

  2. He has special relationships with his mom and sisters

  3. He knows how to laugh, be silly and have fun

  4. The man can SKI (I have always said you can tell a lot about someone just by watching them ski and this could not be more true of Jon – adventurous, passionate, a pro – I love to watch you ski Jonny, and to ski with you!)

  5. He has a heart of gold

  6. He tells me he loves me all the time, and isn’t afraid to show it

  7. He is BUFF

  8. People are drawn to him

  9. His nieces and nephews adore him and have special memories with “Uncle Jonny”

  10. He has close/lifelong friends

  11. He wants to have a big family

  12. He anticipates people’s needs

  13. He is such a MAN

  14. We talk about anything and everything – we don’t even listen to the radio or ipod

  15. He loves film and I love to watch movies with him

  16. He studies the gospel and puts into action the things he learns and believes

  17. He loves good jeans

  18. He can’t wait to be a DAD – especially to have that special father/daughter bond

  19. He understands people’s situations

  20. He deeply respects and loves his parents

  21. He has made my family his own – and they LOVE him

  22. He is simple

  23. I can be myself with him and wherever he is that is where I feel most at home

  24. He can do all sorts of impersonations

  25. He always says what I need to hear

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some things I love about McCall

1. She smiles...a lot
2. More than anything, she wants to be a mom
3. She gives and gives and gives
4. She loves her parents and talks about them in gratitude
5. She loves her family (so do I)
6. She loves my family (so do I doy)
7. My family loves her
8. She loves God
9. She has a foundation in Christ
10. She's all about touching
12. Her hands
13. She has a great laugh and uses it
14. I love her face and body of course
15. She can talk in depth or about the weather
16. She's felt pain
17. She skis like a dood but walks like a woman
18. She loves Beamer
19. We're equals but she's better
20. She finds nice things to say to people
21. Her style
22. We counsel together
23. She doesn't make excuses
24. Her warmth
25. We're friends

To be continued:

Friday, March 13, 2009

COOKING 101
This week I had the chance to go to a cooking class with some of Jon’s sisters & Mom at Sur La Table at the Gateway. The food…was AWESOME and I really want to make the soup at home, and the dessert was the perfect mix between being just sweet enough but not over the top (I will include the menu below – all from the Barefoot Contessa’s newest cookbook Back to Basics)!

Jon’s Mom is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cooking (and lots of other stuff as well) and we spent the night talking all about how cooking is a tradition in the Nelson home and has been passed down for generations, we also laughed ourselves sick…kidney stones dude, added herbs, knife skills, and a teenage chef! I have so much to learn when it comes to cooking and luckily these great Nelson women are experts and can tutor me along the way. I can’t wait to cook for and with Jon and our family – like his Mom said, “it is one of the best ways to show love!”

But, the best part of all, “the sisters!” Next to loving and being loved by Jon, being a part of them is the best feeling! I share such a special relationship with my mom (and Knowlton family members) and I never thought I would duplicate that with other women but I see that same love and potential in the relationships I share with The Nelson Women. Jon and I are not even married yet (see the countdown to the side of this post) and I feel so incredibly honored to be counted among them, I can’t wait for what it will be like to officially be a NELSON woman! Jon told me from the very beginning, “my family is my greatest asset,” and as I have spent time with each of them I now know they are OUR greatest asset as well, The Knowlton Group included as well! I so admire the relationships they share as sisters, mothers, daughters and friends!

Thanks JON for the class, creating an opportunity for me to be with your family and build such meaningful relationships with them, and most of all…thanks for being YOU and being the most important, special, amazing and guiding person in my life!

PS - I have to brag about Jon for just a minute, checkout http://www.cropchocolate.com/ to see what he has been working on nonstop so he can provide for ME and our future family!
MENU: Savory Palmiers - Pappa al Pomodoro - French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter - Oven Roasted Vegetables - Honey Vanilla Fromage Blanc with Raspberry sauce


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

“The ring so worn, as you behold, So thin, so pale, is yet of gold”


I’m sure at some point in our marriage I’ll give McCall a Glock G21 .45 handgun or a pair of 191 Volkl Mantras—and I’ll most likely “borrow” them. That’s just how us doods are I guess. So it’s rare when a dood like me can give a gift of significance.


As soon as McCall and I started talking about marriage I started gathering ideas for a ring. First stop—Tiffany.com. It was there that I found the perfect ring for McCall. I’m sure I skewed Tiffany’s web analytics as I parked on the site for hours looking at that ring.


A few days later McCall pulled out a binder with pictures of wedding stuff that she’s seen in magazines, pictures of gowns she’s made, ideas for her future date and more. Inside was a section of rings that she liked. To my surprise, the same ring I found on Tiffany.com was torn from a Tiffany catalog and circled in the book. I knew.


For the next few weeks we went from shop to shop—looking for the perfect setting and size. Ring size was my only interest—somewhere between a six and six and a quarter. I had already found the one…girl and ring.


Aesthetically it is more pleasing to see things in odd quantities—one, three, five, etc.—so why three? The three diamond ring signifies past, present, future or yesterday, today, forever. It also has a holy meaning of God—being the center stone—and the bride and groom—being the side stones. McCall’s the one on the right hand side.


After seeing the actual Tiffany ring in person, I decided to have one made. As beautiful as the Tiffany ring is, it just wasn’t quite right—the three stones were only .15 carat each. I went to a jeweler in SLC with pictures and renderings in hand. I showed him the ring with three inset diamonds and 40 round cuts. It’s significant to note that all 40 stones are round cuts and not chips because of the way they reflect light. It also had to be platinum. He sent it to New York to have it made then he would set the three stones himself. We looked at several stones and narrowed it down to the 3—all D or E FL.


It took about two and a half weeks to make the ring. Two and a half weeks of waiting for a phone call. Two and a half weeks of planning. Two and a half weeks of skiing with McCall.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

THANK YOU, thank you, THANK YOU!

THANK YOU, thank you, THANK YOU!

Valentine's SKI DAY!

BDAY Dinner with The Knowlton's

(nephew WILL - not ours!)


Valentine's Party with the NIECES!

First and foremost, thank you Jon for the best week of my life (more on that later!) Secondly, thank you to all of our family and friends who have shared in our joy and excitement this past week. Whether talking on the phone, visiting in your homes or trading emails and facebook messages we have been overwhelmed by the blessings of support and love we have felt from all of YOU!

What a week…from a nieces party at Meme’s to Valentine’s Day skiing and dinner at the Silverfork, I thought it couldn’t get any better – boy was I wrong! We then celebrated Jon’s BIRTHDAY with my family, decided to move our wedding date to May 14th and OFFICIALLY got ENGAGED (with the most beautiful ring I have ever seen – I am not at all bias though)!!! We made the rounds visiting family and friends, had yet another awesome BLUE BIRD ski day and enjoyed dinner with friends visiting from out of town. I know that my life with Jon will never lack in excitement, adventure, lots of laughs, fun and complete peace and joy. THANK YOU JONNY for knowing me better than I know myself and making every moment memorable – I can’t wait for the many moments to come!

And one of the most important moments in my life 12.13.08 (our first date – Slumdog Millionaire and The Dodo!) has taught me this about LOVE:

LOVE - what a great thing! Love is what connects us all and is the foundation for ALL things. Love binds us when all other emotions try to pull us down into the depths of despair, complacency and selfishness. If we can FEEL and GIVE love completely we will find our purpose in this life, and nothing can top that moment!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

02.18.09




On our second date we took Beamer—my dog—on a snowy hike up Duel Creek Canyon. It's a sheer canyon on both sides with a single track trail and a healthy creek cutting through the middle. There are several small cascades—one of which McCall commented on during our second date. There's a flat area where the water pools and spills into another pool. That's the backgrounder.

I played dumb yesterday, asking McCall via text what she wanted to do last night. She said she wanted to drive out to meet me but I insisted that I pick her up because of icy roads. I said that Beamer needed a good hike and asked if she would go with us. I picked her up at 6:00 PM with a request that she pack winter clothes.

We went to the restaurant where we ate on our first date. McCall commented that we ate there on our first date so thought she was onto me.

Of course it was a wonderful evening over dinner.

We changed our clothes and picked up Beamer. As we drove to the mountains McCall again commented that it was where we went on our second date, and again I thought she was onto me.
I put my backpack on telling her that I had a sleeping bag and more puffy clothes just in case she got cold. I also said we needed the sleeping bag and insulated pad in case of an emergency. I opened the backpack wide to put water in it—and to show McCall that there was nothing suspicious in the bag. I closed it tight. It contained more than what I had told her—including 3 month's salary in rock and metal.

We hiked across a snow packed road and turned into Duel Creek Canyon—let me just add that McCall is the only woman I know that skis, hikes and is as active as any dude I know but walks and acts like a woman in every way. We walked from snow packed roads to a powdery trail. The deeper we hiked into the canyon, the dimmer the lights of the city became. We turned our headlamps on.

McCall said about half way into the canyon that we were hiking the exact trail we hiked on our second date. Again, I thought I was outed. We came to the clearing aforementioned where the canyon flattened and the creek poured from a high pond to a lower one. That's where we stopped and I said I needed to take my pack off and cool down.

From my pack I pulled candles out saying that I had a few things besides water and extra clothes in there. I lit the candles and stuffed them in the snow. She said, "Jon, what guy does this?" I blew off her question by saying "Um, a few?" Then I pulled the sleeping pad from my pack for her to sit on.

I turned my back on her to hide my next activity. I pulled a portable iHome speaker stand and iPod from the pack, mounted the iPod and pushed play—earlier that day preselecting the song that would play.

Here's the thing about the song. I never though I would propose to Country-Western music playing in the background and I certainly knew I'd never propose to an Alan Jackson song. But over the New Year's break McCall and I drove to my brother-in-law and sister's cabin at Bear Lake. We talked non-stop for two-and-a-half hours until we drove into Logan Canyon. It was a stormy weekend so the drive was a little longer than expected. Snow fell on three inches of road-pack as I pushed play on my iPod. The song "Remember When" by Alan Jackson was the first to shuffle—we drove quietly—a scene right out of a Western Christmas romantic-comedy—if such a thing exists.

That's the song I preselected last night when I pushed play. The next words from McCall’s mouth were "Jonny, I'm going to cry." She stood up and hugged me and sure enough, she started to cry. I milked her tears for the first few verses of the song then asked her to sit, there were still more things in the bag.

McCall sat on the rolled up sleeping pad and I dug to find the only zipper pocket in my backpack. There it was—the symbol of my eternal love.

The candles were pleasantly dim, flickering light on the creek, the canyon walls and McCall’s face. I stood before her and flipped on her headlamp so she would be dazzled by what I was about to give to her. She look up and me and said, “What’s going on?”

I got on a knee and presented a closed ring box. I started to ask her to marry me but she grabbed me and pulled me to the ground. We wrestled in each other’s arms laughing…McCall's laughter mixed with tears.

“Wait.” I said. “Let me finish!”

I got back to my knee, opened the box and again asked McCall to marry me. She stared at the ring, almost afraid to touch it, said “Yes,” took the ring from the box and slid it over her finger.

The next half-hour we laid on the ground in excitement—laughing more than talking.

It was the best reaction I could have wished for.

On our hike out of the canyon, Beamer came to an abrupt halt and stared into the darkness. His ears were at attention and his tail was straight out. I put McCall between Beamer and me as we made our way out. When we reached the snow packed mountain road we heard coyote yelps echoing down the canyon. The Crow and other plains mythology believes that the coyote is Creator, elder brother or a notion of the Great Spirit—who was too sacred to mention.


Awesome!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Five Months and Counting

Hello. This is McCall. I love Jon.

Hello. This is Jon. I love McCall.

We are lovers.