Monday, November 15, 2010

Tag-Team Clean

So, on Saturday, Emily texted me and asked if I'd want to tag-team our cleaning responsibilities. She came over and helped me clean my apartment, and then (after a lunchbreak), we went to her house and cleaned there. It was an excellent idea, for a couple of reasons.

First, my house is cleaner than it's been in....well, a long time. Christina and I own two vacuums, but neither of them work. (Though it's apparently important that we keep them around and try them again every once in a while - just in case they suddenly decide to start working.) So, in order to vacuum our floors, we have to borrow. It was nice that not only did Emily bring her vacuum, but she also brought a few other supplies we were low on.

B - Cleaning is always better with more people. It gets done faster, and it's more fun.

3) Cleaning someone else's house is easier than cleaning your own. Emily did most of the work at my house (thanks again!), and I like to think I put in quite a bit of work at hers.

I think one of the reasons behind this is that it's not so easy to get distracted. You know, the whole take-someting-into-another-room-and-forget-what-you're-doing syndrome. (Otherwise known as TSIARAFWYDS).

Probably another reason is that tasks in your own house start to overwhelm you until they're too daunting to consider, and then you get used to them looming over you in your subconscious mind until they just become a part of who you are. At that point, you know that actually doing the cleaning would destroy the character that you've built for yourself, so you avoid it completely. Until someone else comes along and reminds you that it only takes ten minutes to mop your bathroom floor.

IV: Cleaning is exercise, therefore, more is better. I didn't make it to the gym on Saturday, and yet I was sore that night. Booyah!

**The numbering in this blog is dedicated to Staci.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Walt Disney World in a Wheelchair

Every other year, my brother takes his family to Orlando for a week of Mickey Magic. And because I'm such an awesome aunt, they invite me to come along. About two weeks ago was our fourth time going, and, as usual, it was an absolute blast.

However, this time was a little different than usual. The first two days we were there, we were in the parks for half a day. I walked both days. By the second night, my ankle was the size of a small melon and my knee was protesting loudly. So, on the third day - our first full day in the park - I swallowed my pride and rented a wheelchair. I was hoping that one day in the chair would help my knee to feel better. I had the same hope on the second day in the chair. And the third. Finally, I figured I was in it for good. After all, my ankle was the size of a watermelon. I couldn't resist pictures...

Normal ankle:
Not-so-normal ankle (the bump that looks like my ankle bone? Not bone):


Anyway, it turns out Disney World is a somewhat different experience in a wheelchair. I learned a few things, which I've decided to list here...

1. An occupied wheelchair with its brakes on will slide backwards on an inclined moving walkway. And if the moving walkway isn't moving? Well, my nephew can attest to the fact that the incline is a bit too steep at the end of the Space Mountain exit.

2. A wheelchair will get you onto some rides faster than a Fast Pass. Most notably: Splash Mountain.

3. Kids can recover from having their feet run over by a wheelchair very quickly.

4. Surprisingly, Disney World can be exhausting even when you're sitting all day.

5. A wheelchair makes it take much longer to get onto some rides than a normal line. Most notably: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

6. People have no concern for the health of their ankles. This is obvious, because they will often step directly in front of a moving wheelchair and stop abruptly.

7. The best time to have a wheelchair in Disney World? When waiting for the fireworks. No sitting on the ground for an hour. Booyah.

8. Most rides have lines that are big enough for wheelchairs, which means you're not going to get through any faster or slower than you would if you didn't have a wheelchair.

9. Lowering your line of sight to a lower level makes it obvious that very few people look good in short shorts. Ew.

10. Baxter is the best 16-year old nephew in the world. Thanks for pushing me around!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Triathlon, Part Two

Yep, I fell down the stairs. Cause I'm a big klutz. My right foot slipped out from underneath me, leaving my left foot behind. Because of how I landed, I hurt my knee. After a visit to the doctor, I found that I had torn my Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). It's the muscle that runs along the inside of your knee to stabilize it. And, in case you're wondering - tearing a muscle hurts.

At any rate, after icing and nursing my injury for a week and a half, I saw a knee specialist, who told me that I shouldn't exercise or do any sports until I had no pain, which generally takes 2 to 4 weeks. Since that would take me up to about 2 weeks before the tri, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it.

I won't go into the frustration I felt about injuring myself just when I'd started to enjoy working out or about not being able to reach the goal I had set for myself. I will say, though, that it's been a lot harder not to exercise than I would have ever thought it could be. For someone who hadn't exercised in months before this whole thing, that's saying something! And, now that I've caught the tri-bug, I wasn't satisfied with just giving up.

I hit the four-week mark last night, and I am still experiencing some pain. I see the doctor on Thursday, and I'll hopefully find out if/when I can start exercising again. I suppose I should tell him that I started swimming again about a week ago...

So, once I get the all-clear from the doc, I will start training again. I've already researched other triathlons in my area, and I've decided to sign up for one in April. It's the same as the Turkey Tri, only it's not called the Turkey Tri, cause, well, a Turkey reference in April would just be weird.

Now I just have to decide if I'm going to try the mini or go for the sprint (which is double all the lengths). Hmm... I do have four months to train this time...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Triathlon, Part One

Staci informed me the other day that it’s been far too long since I’ve blogged, and, well...she’s right. So, here we go!

About two months ago, my friend convinced me to start training for a mini-triathlon.

And now that any of you who know me have picked yourself up from the floor where you’ve fallen in surprise, I will continue.

As a kid and a teenager, I enjoyed playing sports. The kids in my neighborhood were constantly getting together for football games and an occasional baseball game. I played basketball and volleyball with the youth at church and, although I was never the best player on any team, I wasn’t too bad at it.

As I’ve gotten older, however, those sports fell by the wayside. I became an average American 20-something-year old, too busy to bother with playing games and too lazy to bother with exercise. While I’d play an occasional game of tag with the nieces and nephews or football with the siblings and sometimes even go to a gym, I was nowhere near what one would call “athletic.”

Now that I’m in my thirties and I’m not invincible anymore (as all 20-something-year olds are), I’ve been trying harder to go to the gym. And (probably like most 30-something-year olds) some weeks I do really well at fitting in exercise and some weeks I don’t.

So, when my friend talked to me about joining her in training for a mini-triathlon, I scoffed. I believe my response was something along the lines of “Yeah, that would be fun… So! How’s your new baby?”

But my friend persisted, insisting that I wasn’t too old or out of shape, that it was just a mini-tri and I could do it easily. She offered to make up a training schedule that I could follow and that would fit into my busy days. Finally, intrigued by the challenge that this training would be and knowing that I needed the exercise anyway, I agreed.

The race consists of a 200 meter swim (in a pool), a 5 mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run. It’s in St. George, UT in November, and is called the Turkey Triathlon.

I had a few challenges to overcome in order to compete in this race. First, I’m out of shape. REALLY out of shape. I weigh more than I ever have in my life, I get winded walking up a flight of stairs, and I like to eat dessert way too much. Second, I don’t have a bike, and I haven’t ridden a bike for nearly ten years. Third, my swimsuit is falling apart and (possibly most important) I don’t know how to swim. I mean, I can get from one end of the pool to the other, but I'm not very good at it, and I know I don't do it "right."

But I accepted the challenge anyway. My friend made my training schedule, and I began to follow it, using the stationary bikes at the gym until I could borrow my brother-in-law’s mountain bike, walking on a treadmill for two minutes to every one minute run, and enlisting my sister-in-law to teach me how to swim correctly. I started researching triathlons on the internet, learning about the transitions and the overall challenge of the race. And I caught it... The “tri-bug,” as one website put it. I got excited about the prospect, and I began to actually look forward to working out, which is a completely new feeling for me. For three weeks, it was starting to look like I might actually be able to do it.

And then I fell down the stairs…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


When I was young, I was always surprised about my mom’s reasons for wishing summer was over. Of course, as a kid, summer was the best time ever. Months of absolutely nothing to do except play. Which, of course, we did consistently, and never, ever got bored…

Actually, the words, “I’m bored” were outlawed in my house when I was growing up. It was a transgression on par with throwing balls in the house. If we ever dared to say the illegal words, we would be given something to do. Which was generally cleaning our room, or helping with dinner, or some other activity that every kid LOVES doing. This, of course, was meant to teach us to use our imagination. To teach us that if we’re bored, we have to figure out something to do on our own. A lesson that we learned so well that it was at least another couple of hours before we were again complaining of boredom.

Which makes it all the more surprising that my mom looked forward to the end of summer, not because she was sick of us kids (though she was), or because of the heat (though she hates that), but because it meant things would slow down.

And as I child, I thought, “Slow down?! How could anything get slower than summertime?!”

But now I’m an adult. My weekends are booked until mid-August. I have something planned every night for the next two and a half weeks. I’m so tired from lack of sleep that I’m liable to doze off at any given moment. Summer means fireworks and barbeques and hiking and going to the park and swimming and playing in sprinklers and camping and yard work and road trips and babysitting kids for others going on vacation and outdoor birthday parties and so much more.

And even though all of those things are very fun, and I look forward to them, and summer is still my favorite season by far, I now understand what my mom was saying. Fall is something to look forward to, because it’s a time of recovery from all the fun we had during the summer. A time when my schedule once more settles down (and tends to revolve around the newest episode of whatever TV shows I happen to be addicted to). A time when I actually have days with nothing planned. A time when I can catch up on my reading and I have time to visit the bookstore.

Ah…the bookstore.

But for now, I have too much to do to think about that. Bring on the babysitting and the road trips and the campouts, cause summer is halfway over and I’m running out of time to cram it all in!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Days Four and Five

Well, my pictures don't seem to be loading, so here's a blog with no pics...

Yesterday, we went to Versailles, which was incredible. I can't believe how absolutely huge it is. And the "gardens" are even bigger. Crazy.

Afterwards, we went to the Arc de Triomphe and climbed the stairs to the top. I've gotten quite the workout every day this week. I've been sore every day too... It was great, though, and we followed it up by sauntering down the Champs-Elysees. We stayed out until 9 last night, which is the latest we've made it so far (I know, pretty sad), and we even got up early this morning. Now that we're used to French time, it's time to go back to Utah time. Joy for us.

Today, we went to Montmartre and La Basilica Sacre Coeur, and then we went to the Eiffel Tower. It was crazy busy, but with our pre-bought tickets, it only took us an hour or so to get up to the top. I would definitely recommend to anyone going to get their tickets online before going. Before we went up, we had about an hour to wait, and we just sat at the base of it, enjoying the sun's first showing since we've been here and watching people. It was relaxing and very fun.

Now it's time to get ready to leave tomorrow. We have to be outside our hotel at 8:15 in the morning for our shuttle to the airport. We'll see how that goes...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Exhausting but Fun Day

We started off the day with a trip to the Hotel des Invalides, which houses the Musee de l'Armee. It was really interesting. We only went to a part of it, which detailed the history of French warfare between 1643 and 1871. Here's the front of the Hotel des Invalides...

Afterwards, we took the metro over to the Conciergerie, which is (among other things) where prisoners were held before being hauled off and beheaded by "Madame la Guillotine." It was a very uplifting day, as you can tell...

Just around the corner from the Conciergerie is Notre Dame. We have tickets to go up the towers, but they closed just before we got there (literally, like 10 seconds before we got there). Bummer! But we went inside and it was beautiful and amazing, of course...

After that, we went to the Ile Saint Louis to find an ice cream shop that at least two people have mentioned to me. Here we are with our ice cream below. (Well, with Casey's anyway. Mine appears to be shy of cameras...) It was delicious. I had Salted Butter Caramel and Raspberry Rose (and it really did taste like roses mixed with raspberries!), and Casey had Raspberry Rose and Dark Chocolate. Tasty! Tasty!

When we got back to the hotel, it was to discover that tonight is daylight savings in France. Lovely. We love changing times so much, we're gonna do it again!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Paris Day Two

Today we went to the Catacombs. It's an underground crypt where they've moved thousands of people's remains to empty out the graveyards around Paris (to make things healthier). It consisted of a million and one stairs (well, okay, it was more like 130 down and 83 up), a very long tunnel, and lots and lots of bones.

Then, we took the metro for the first time to head to the Musee d'Orsay. It started pouring rain when we got to the museum, so we didn't get pictures, and they don't allow them inside, so I just have one of the metro...

Still having a blast and getting tons of exercise (as sad as it is to admit, I'm actually sore from climbing those stairs, plus the ones up and down for the metro) and eating lots of nummy food!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

We made it!

After two days of travelling, we finally made it to Paris! Our flight got in at about 10:30 last night, and we finally made it to our hotel at about midnight. We were exhausted and a little overwhelmed with everything, but a good night's sleep helped a lot, and we've had a blast today!

We spent a few hours walking around the Latin Quarter, where we're staying, and we went to the Louvre. It is so much fun being here, and my French has definitely come back to me, which is a huge relief. Granted, nearly everyone speaks English here, but I have carried on at least one full conversation in French, and was told that I speak well. (Granted, the guy was flirting, but I'll take a compliment if I can get it!)

Anyway, wanted to share a couple of pics we took today (of the four million that we took...).
Crossing the Seine, with Notre Dame behind us...

Outside the Louvre...

A couple of shots of the ceilings in the Louvre. They are just as amazing as the art!

More to come as we continue to be major American tourists!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dallas is definitely not Paris

My friend Casey and I left this morning from Salt Lake City to head to Paris! We've been SO excited for this excellent vacation that we've had planned since last November.

But now we're at the Wyndham in Dallas, Texas. In case you're wondering, Dallas is NOT Paris. Despite the airline employees' cheerful attitudes, this isn't where we want to be tonight. We were a bit ornery, but we've decided that we need a better attitude and come up with some positive things about this unfortunate experience.

First, we no longer have to try to sleep on the plane. Now we have to try to keep ourselves awake on the plane. Possibly not as bad.

Second, once we get to Paris, we can check into our hotel right away (since it will be 11:30pm) instead of waiting around because we go there at 8:30am and couldn't check in until 1pm.

And third, we got to eat dinner at Denny's in Dallas. I mean, seriously. who would pass that up?

Certainly not someone heading to boring old Paris!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


For most of my adult life, I have been teased about my movie-going habits. I've always loved going to the movies. There's just nothing better than seeing something on a huge screen, with speakers set at the optimal level and surrounded by people who have to (are supposed to) shut up for two hours. I love seeing something on the opening weekend and cheering or laughing out loud with the rest of the audience. I love mindlessly munching on popcorn and/or candy while lost in another world. I love sitting in the theater before the show starts and chatting with my friends. I love seeing a movie more than once, picking up lines and images that I missed the first time (or the first four times).

I consider going to the movies as one of my hobbies.

Now, as far as hobbies go, I don't see much of a problem with this one. It's cheaper than skiing. It's more outgoing than reading. It's more relaxing than hiking. Not that it's my only hobby. I love reading and I love hiking, and I have more hobbies as well. (Though skiing isn't one of them. Mostly because I hate winter and spending money to play in snow isn't going to make me happy. I'd much rather spend the day watching someone else's problems, and knowing that they will be resolved before the show is over. Two hours of buildup to a happy ending. Just what my brain needs.)

As for the types of movies I like, I'm pretty flexible. Romantic comedies, drama, action, sci-fi. I love scary-intense movies, but I'm not into horror. I also don't care for the artsy, preachy, that's-the-way-real-life-goes movies. Blech. I watch movies to escape life, not to be reminded about how horrible it can be.

My passion for going to the theater has made such an impression on certain people of my acquaintance that I couldn't convince them that I wasn't going as much as I used to. Last year, I don't think I saw anything between Harry Potter and New Moon. (That's July to November, for those that don't follow these things.) Did that lessen the sarcastic remarks from my brothers? Of course not. They didn't believe me.

So, I've decided to give up convincing them that I don't go to movies much anymore and just start going again. New Moon came out in November, which I saw several times. Since then, I've seen Sherlock Holmes (more than once), When in Rome, Leap Year (more than once) and Avatar.

Ahhhh... It's nice to be back.