Set The DVR

The Biggest Loser premiers tomorrow and ordinarily I wouldn’t really pay that much attention.  I tend to start watching that show a few weeks before the finale so I can see the changes instantly.  And for some reason I really like watching it while eating a big bowl of ice cream.  Go figure.

Anyway, this year one of the contestants is a man from my home town that I actually know.  Matter of fact, I used to be good friends with his daughters and a bunch of us used to hang out at their house every weekend.  While friendships have fallen by the wayside, I’ve always liked Rick and wish him the best in his efforts on the show.  I now have yet another show added to my DVR and hope you will tune in as well.  Go Rick!

http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/video/contestant-profile-rick/1247748

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A Good Day

Picture this, it’s about 80 degrees out with a slight breeze with little to no humidity.  The smell of grass being cut is in the air (I happen to really like that smell) and Bob Marley is serenading me on my Ipod as I walk around my neighborhood.

The lady whose pre-school/daycare I helped out at a couple of months ago asked if I could start back up again in a couple of weeks after her daughter leaves for school.  AND I have an interview at another school on Monday to see about doing some part time work there.  No promises on that but an interview is more than I’ve had in over a year.  Neither are my dream jobs but I’ll take them both.  And do so with a smile, work is work and money is money after all.

Then I found out this afternoon that I’m getting money back from my taxes.  I was fairly certain I wouldn’t get anything and almost just as certain I would end up owing some.  A good day indeed.

The only thing that could make today better would be to head to the ball park and take in a game while munching on a hot dog.  Ahh, spring, I love you.

My Weekend 3

I got three things this weekend that should make my life better.  Not that life is bad, it’s just that these things will make it better.

1.  I bought a new pair of running shoes:

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Why I had to take a picture while wearing them I don’t know because I haven’t actually run in them yet.  Anyway, I went running Friday morning and my knee hurt so badly after a mile that I threw my hands in the air and said “FINE!  I’ll look into new shoes.”  I went to Road Runner and they video tapped my feet while I was running on a treadmill and then we analyzed it.  It was so freaking cool.  I could have sat all afternoon watching videos of people running on the treadmill.  When I ran track in high school I remember my coach asking me a few times if I kicked my ankle when I ran and I thought he was crazy.  I mean, really, I think I would know if I kicked myself.  After watching the video I can’t believe I didn’t ever trip myself…literally.  The guy that was helping me was awesome and gave me a lot of useful information that I took to another store where the shoes were cheaper.  Thanks for the help but sorry, I’m not paying over $100 for shoes.  I’m not that dedicated – especially since I’m unemployed.  So I went to a store where I happen to have a gift card and voila!  Supposedly these shoes meet the criteria I need for my foot type.  We shall see.  All I know is that my knee is badly inflamed and it hurts like the dickens when I run.  So…fingers crossed!

2.  I bought a bathingsuit top.  After all the lame drama, can you believe it’s solid black?  I just couldn’t find anything else and I’m not overly happy or satisfied with this one but I was just too wore out to keep searching.  But it’s over and done with and now my life can move on.

3.  Peggle!!  My brother told me about this game only last night and I’m completely and totally hooked.  It’s a computer game that’s a cross between pin ball and plinko from the Price is Right.  To hear it described it sounds totally lame but it’s freakin awesome.  All you do is aim a little ball and shoot it and it hits other balls and bricks and you get points.  When you hit all the orange objects you advance to the next level and eventually the next stage.  I only have the demo version, because that was free, but I’ve been playing it almost non-stop.  Matter of fact I almost didn’t write this post because I’m itching to play.  It’s sort of  like being a kid who has to do their homework before they can go outside with their friends, only my friend is a unicorn named Bjorn.

And there you have it.  The three things I got this weekend to make my life better.  Now if I could just find some chocolate…

Obligatory New Years Post

It’s a good thing procrastination isn’t something I want to work on this year or I would have already shot myself in the foot with posting this entry the night of the 7th rather than on the first.  Instead of having resolutions I have goals or improvements for the year.  Towards the end of 2008 I started working on a few things that I hope to continue for 2009.  I started being a little more serious about my running and plan to keep that up.  I read  50 books and will be doing that again.  I started eating a lot healthier and began to get interested in cooking/baking.  If I had to pick a big surprise of the year, cooking might possibly be it.  I never ever thought I would enjoy doing that.  What’s next?  Shopping?  Ha, I won’t hold my breath on that one.  But if any of you have any easy, yummy recipes you want to share please do because I’m on the look out for some more.  And possibly my favorite thing I did this past year was to buy my awesome camera and get into photography.  So this year, I think I would like to actually learn how to use this awesome camera.

We all know I lost my job a couple of weeks ago and am now a free agent for whatever may come my way.  See how I’m trying to make unemployment sound cool and exciting?  Well, I guess in some ways it’s nice to not have to get up and do anything but then again, before I started writing this post I was just sitting on my bed making faces at myself in the mirror because I’m bored.  So another goal for the year is to get a job.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I’ve been living here in Utah for a little over four years now which is the longest I’ve stayed put since I graduated from high school.  But now I’m getting that itch to do something else, somewhere else.  While I was in California I interviewed with a company and was offered a job but because of a couple of things it’s not going to work out.  But I still think this is my perfect opportunity for something new so in a couple of weeks I’m planning on driving down to Mesa to check it out.  I’ve never been to Mesa but I know it’s warm and somewhere different.  Could it be a giant fiasco?  Yep, it sure could be.  Could I find myself staying in Utah?  Possibly.  Is it possible that I’ll run out of money before I get a job and have to move back home to Arkansas?  Sure is.  But it could turn out great and who knows, I may love it so much I stay there longer than four years.  I’m excited for this year and excited to see where it’s going to take me.

So Far in LA…

Maybe I should start with just getting to LA.  I woke up Tuesday to some sun and clear roads which was a nice change from the day before.  I was relieved because I hate driving in snow and wanted to make sure I got out of Salt Lake before the next storm hit.  That morning I ran some last minute errands then came home to eat lunch and check the weather.  According to the meterologist there were three storms moving in at that moment and it just so happened those three storms were right where I was going to be.  Ugh.  They showed what was supposed to be live footage of the storm and sure enough I looked out the window and where the sky had been blue 15 minutes before, it was turning a dark gray/black.  So I hurried and got in the shower and started to get ready.  Only to discover that as I was fixing my hair snow had started to fall.  Naturally I panicked because I was having my uncle give me a ride to the airport and the plan was for me to leave my car at his house which was an hour and a half away in good weather condition.  So I literally ran to my dresser drawers and closet and grabbed some clothes and threw them into my suitcase (because I had put off packing of course) and was out the door within 10 minutes.

As it turned out, the roads and sky were clear the whole way and I ended up getting just outside his house in 50 minutes.  So much for a live weather feed.  Since my flight wasn’t supposed to leave for oh, another 6 hours, and I didn’t want to just hang out in his house I drove around to pass a bit of time.  Finally just going to the house and eating dinner before going to the airport.  I was still a couple of hours early but thought that would be good b/c the lines might be crazy.  Nope, no lines whatsoever and I was checked in and through security in 5 min.

I make it to my gate to discover that my flight has been delayed because the plane was coming in from Chigago.  Lovely.  It was now sheduled to leave at midnight so I had about another 5 hour wait.  Around 10:30 they announce that the flight had been cancelled because the plane never made it out of Chigago before their airport was shut down and the next available flight would be the next morning.  Awesome.  I remained sitting reading my book while everyone else stood in line to rebook their flights because honestly there was no point in standing when I had all night to get the flight changed.  And that’s when the airline guy said there was availability on a flight going to Long Beach that was to leave in the next 20 minutes.  Eureka!!  So on that flight I went and landed in LA at midnight local time.  I thought they had lost my luggage because I waited for a half hour and it never showed but as I was in line waiting to talk to the representative about getting it, some guy rolled in a large cart with unclaimed luggage and there it was.  No clue as to where it had been up until that point but I didn’t really care.

I got to my sister’s place and got some sort of second wind and couldn’t go to sleep until 3:30 which was really 4:30 to me.  I don’t think I’ve seen 4:30 in the morning from staying up since I was a freshman in college 10 years ago.  I woke up only 5 hours later and opening my suitcase was sort of like a pre-Christmas present because I had absolutely no idea what was inside since I had just thrown stuff in there.

In the past few days we’ve kept it incredibly low key which has been really nice.  We went driving around to look at some lights, had a small gift exchanged, talked on the phone with family, went for some walks that were in her guidebook (one walk had us going up so many stairs I lost count at somewhere around 400), went into some stores (it was at night and they were all virtually empty or I don’t think I would have gone), and yesterday we went to both Chinatown and Little Mexico (Little Mexico is what I’m calling it but I don’t know what it’s really referred to).  That’s the kind of stuff I like to do rather than going to all the big tourist spots.  And we went to some Salvadorian grocery store and I found the brand of black refried beans I used to eat in Guatemala and some cookies that I haven’t had since I was there either.  Honestly, I think that has been my most favorite thing I’ve done so far on this trip.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy I guess  – just some black beans and Chiky cookies.  Yum!  I’m still on the hunt for a certain candy that I ate in both Mexico and Guatemala and have not been able to find.  It doesn’t help that I can’t remember what it’s called but I’m on a mission to find it.  Not sure what we have planned for today but beans and Target may be hard to beat.

Thanksgiving in Moab

Ok I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about this past weekend but without further ado here it is:

Wednesday:

Instead of leaving at three in the afternoon like we had originally planned, we were on the road by 12:30.  I guess we were both anxious to just get going and I know that I at least, did not want to be at work anymore.  It’s only a three hour drive down and the ride went pretty fast.  No need for any of the books on tape and I was very happy that she drove her car.  Usually I end up being the driver which I don’t mind most of the time.  But her car gets better gas mileage and I didn’t want to put the miles on mine.  Anyway, we got to Moab about 3:30 and checked into our motel.  If you ever make your way down to Moab I do recommend The Inca Inn.  It was a simple, basic room that was clean and they provided a simple breakfast every morning that among other things, consisted of homemade bread, muffins, and sweet rolls.  Yum!

There really wasn’t much we could go do at this point.  The sun was going to be setting soon so hiking was out of the question.  We decided to walk around the great town of Moab (ha! It’s pretty much only one street long) but unfortunately we discovered that everything shuts down at 5:00.  We were feeling kind of hungry so we decided to stop at a bakery that we had passed when we had first parked.  I have to say my mouth was already drooling at the idea of fresh bread and hot chocolate.  Only when we got to the store, we noticed through the windows there wasn’t any bread.  That’s when I looked up and noticed the sign didn’t say bakery it said barkery.  Yep, it was a dog store.  Lovely.  So instead we ate at a place called Eddie McStiff’s.  I just got a burger and fries which were pretty good.  We headed back to our room and watched TV.

Thursday:

We woke up to rain and fog but decided to go up to the parks anyway.  We bypassed Arches National Park and headed up to Canyon Lands.  The fog was pretty thick and you could only see about 100 feet or so in front of you.  We got to the entrance toll booth and no one was there but there was a sign saying to pay at the visitor’s center.  But when we got to the visitor’s center it was closed and wouldn’t open for another hour.  So I said we should just go through anyway and pay on the way back.  No big deal.  So we went on to Mesa Arch and were taking pictures when a ranger shows up about a half hour later.  My friend asks him if the visitor’s center was going to open at all that day because it was Thanksgiving and that we still needed to pay.  I realize she was trying to be honest and do the right thing but why she volunteered that information I don’t know.  The ranger had no idea we hadn’t paid until she told him.  It was at that point when the guy turned into quite a douche.  Apparently there was some machine at the toll booth we should have used blah, blah.  We didn’t see it.  So he gets her name and info and tells her to make sure we stop at the visitor’s center on the way out and that he’ll check to make sure we did and if we didn’t he would send her a citation.  We kind of joked about that which I don’t think he appreciated very much.  I guess wounded his ego a little because he puffed up his feathers and said that by not paying it was a misdemeanor which is a felony punishable by up to 6 months in jail.  Um, yeah ok bub.  Pretty sure they only incarcerate when you have a fine of $5,000 or more.  Doubt the $10 entrance fee qualifies.  My friend was asking him about the weather and I’m not sure if it was because she was generally curious or was trying to soften him a little but I had long since turned away and continued with my picture taken.  As far as I was concerned he was dismissed.

We left Mesa Arch and the Canyon Lands (yes we did stop to pay our fee) and went on to Arches.  We stopped at a few little hikes (walks from the car) to look at stuff and take pictures.  Then we decided to go ahead and hike Devil’s Garden.  We started out and for the first mile or so you’re on an open trail and the hike up to this point isn’t very strenuous at all.  Then the dirt trail ends and you walk up this

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Only it was rainy and very slick.  As we watched a couple attempting to come back down we decided we would wait and tackle it the next day.  So we turned around and headed back out which was a good thing because the rain picked up and by the time we made it to the car we were pretty wet and cold.  Since the fog was still pretty thick we just headed back to town.  It was only 2:00 in the afternoon and for the rest of the day/night we just watched TV or read.  We did venture out for dinner and ended up with Chinese.  It was so so.

Friday:

It was still overcast and had been raining all night but again, we headed out anyway.  We decided to go back to Devil’s Garden and attempt the hike again.  Luckily the rocks weren’t really wet so we went for it.  It’s a pretty cool view once you get up there and walk out on a fin.  There are actually a few different arches to see once you get up the rock wall and there weren’t a lot of people out there which was nice.  On the way back, however, throngs of people were making their way up.  One group had three guys that looked to be about our age.  I guess they didn’t want to stay at the arch too long with all the other people (when we were there only moments before, we had the place to ourselves) so before we knew it they had doubled back and had almost caught up to where we were.  There are a handful of areas on the hike where you have to wait for people to pass before you can.  Before I knew it, she was going as fast as she could down because she didn’t want to be at any area when these guys showed up because she didn’t want their help getting down (assuming they would bother to offer).  I’m all for doing things on my own and not being overly needy on a guy to get things done but for heavens sake, I also didn’t want to slide down the rocks and break my leg.  We made it back to the above picture and going down was looking like it was going to be worse than going up.  So instead of trying to hustle our way down before the guys showed up, I said we would just wait for them to pass.  Besides there were now other people coming up and we were going to have to wait anyway.  The guys made their decent down and when they were about half way we started ours.  Funny thing watching them.  They were sliding down on their butts and as my friend and I made our way down we almost caught up with them.  It wasn’t as hard as I had anticipated and maybe we should have offered them our assistance instead.

We kept hiking at different spots and now they all run together into one big hike.  I do know that we started hiking around 8:30 that morning and didn’t get back to the hotel until around 6 that night.  The clouds had begun clearing and the sunset that night was phenomenal.  In town we ate dinner at a place called The Broken Oars.  I got a BBQ burger and I must have been hungry because I ate the whole thing before my friend finished half her wrap and before the girl next to us finished half of her burger. And she got hers before I got mine.  It was pretty tasty.

Saturday:

This was the day we had set aside to climb delicate arch.  The clouds had parted more and you could see the blue sky.  The sky was a beautiful blue until, you guessed it, we got just outside of the Delicate Arch turnoff.  The clouds were so thick again you couldn’t see out very far.  So we turned around and decided to hike a few of the little ones we had done the day before, kind of to waste some time.  Amazingly the sky was perfect at these other arches and it was great for pictures.  After about an hour and a half we went back up to Delicate.  It was still foggy but we decided to hike it anyway rather than keep waiting.  The first part was no biggie.  Then you climb solid rock for what felt like a mile but it was probably only half a mile or less

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Somehow the pictures don’t make it as daunting as it felt.  These were taken on the way down because on the way up, it was so cloudy you could only see a few feet in front of you.  Once you got to the top it was open and flat for a little bit and then you had to walk along a ledge that reminded me of a cartoon

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But once you come around the corner the view is totally worth it

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Up that high, the clouds were awesome.  And we timed it just right because about a half hour after we reached the top the clouds had disappeared and it was a perfectly clear, sunny day.  We sat up there for a little while before making our way back.  We had wanted to go up there at sunset but because of the fog the day before and the fact that it was only noon we decided we would just have to do it another time.  So we headed back to the car and back home.

I ended up taking about 750 pictures and editing around 90.  I posted a handful of those here so feel free to take a look.

5 Miles Baby!

Yesterday I accomplished a big goal of mine that quite honestly I never thought would actually ever happen.  I ran for 5 miles!!!  For me personally this is huge.  I knew it was going to be a good running day because I still felt great at 2.5 miles so I thought my goal of 3.5 miles that day would be easy and could probably push to 4.  When I got to 4 I figured why not go to 4.25?  As I was almost at that distance I flirted with the idea of 5 miles but thought I should just try for 4.5 instead.  At 4.35 my knee started to hurt a little but not so much that I couldn’t keep going.  I finally just decided that I would push to 5.  I mean, I’ve always wanted to and why not let that be the day right?  So, I keep going and at 4.65 my knee starts to really throb and I begin thinking, “What if my legs give out from under me while I’m running?  Maybe I should stop.”  “NO!  If your legs give out at least you will go out running as far as you can without quitting.  If you just stop you’ll always wonder if you could have really run the whole thing.”  “Hmm, good point self.  Carry on.”

At 4.75 my knee is killing me but for heaven’s sake I’m almost there.  “What if by pushing my knee to keep going I damage it permanately?  What if I’m never able to walk again once I get off this treadmill?”  “Well, if that’s the case then at least the last thing your legs did was accomplish one of your goals.”  “Well, what if..” “Shut up already!  Geez, for the love! You have .07 miles to run you’ll be fine for crying out loud you big pansy.”

As I finished I was really surprised that I wasn’t even breathing heavy and aside from my left knee hurting, I felt great.  I mean really good – happy and energetic.  I thought of Legally Blonde when Reese Witherspoon’s character said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. ”  I don’t know about happy people not shooting their husbands but I was definitely feeling happy.

When I first started focusing on running about three months ago I could barely finish one mile and I would be breathing so heavy afterward you would think I was about to hypervenilate.  I don’t know all the technical mumbjo jumbo for the asthma I have but it seems to kick into high gear when I get active.  I know I had severe medical problems when I was born but neither one of my parents ever tried to keep me from playing sports or joining any type of teams.  So I just struggled through it not knowing any better.  I played basketball one year and volleyball the next just to see if I could.  I stuck with track for 6 years running sprints and was actually pretty good and for 11 summers I played softball.  I guess it was my own way of giving asthma the finger.

I never thought running anything longer than 400 yards was ever going to be possible but a few months ago I thought “Why not?  According to the doctors you’re not even supposed to be able to walk and look at how active you’ve been.  Stop telling yourself that you can’t and just do it.”  So I did.  Sure my knee is still a little sore today but I’ll get over it.

Do I think I’ll run another 5 miles today?  Heck no!  Do I think I’ll run it again this week?  Not likely.  But it doesn’t matter if I ever do it again because I did it once and honestly, that’s good enough for me.