Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Night...

... I dreamed I was a double agent.

image found here
how does he manage to still somehow look attractive even with double eyes and mouth?

This book is awesome.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Love Awesome Books

A couple of years ago I went through a holocaust phase. Or something. I started it by reading 'The Seamstress' - a wonderful book recommended by my oldest sister. I read that, and then followed it with multiple (and when I say multiple, I mean many - many) books also about holocaust survivors and their stories. I read so many of them, in a pretty short amount of time, that I can't really remember individual books anymore. Sad. Maybe I should read them again. Also, sadly, I don't think I really documented them on my blog either. I tried going back to find posts about them, and found one mentioning 'The Seamstress' and 'The Nazi Officer's Wife.' That's all. But I read a lot more than that. Promise.

Anyway, last night, while trying to decide the best way to use my 'audible' credits that have built up over the last few months, I stumbled across a book called 'Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory.' The title was intriguing on its own, and reading some of the reviews showed that a lot of people have liked it. I downloaded it and started listening to it this morning while driving into work. Already, I'm hooked. I listened to it on the way there and the way home, and then again for another hour while using the elliptical. It's fascinating, and I've only just finished chapter four. Definitely worth looking into if you're at all interested in that time period.

The same author also wrote 'Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal.' It's a story about a double agent (he's a spy for Germany who becomes a spy for the Brits, while the Germans still think he's a spy for them...) I may have to look into that one when I'm done with this one.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Someone Angered the Rain Gods (and I don't think it was me...)

image found here

As I was arriving home this afternoon, it started to rain. Then it started to pour. I took video.

The end of the video is my feet showing how soaked the carpet is.

Here are some pictures:

the water coming into the basement rec room

the water outside my mom's basement office door. I had to clear the drain a few times to help the water go down. by the dirt on the wall, you can kind of tell how high it was.

me checking out how deep the water was outside the rec room door.
turns out it wasn't terribly deep where I was, but it was somehow all angled toward the door.

you can kind of see the water squishing out of the carpet by my toes.

we did a lot of vacuuming.
thank goodness for wet/dry vacs!

my forgotten lunch.
pulled it out around 12:20 or so... didn't eat it for almost another two hours.

see that dry-ish looking spot by the wall? that's where caitlin had vacuumed when this picture was taken. serious suction power on that thing.

the dirt line on the bottom of the door showing how high the water got outside.

and just a couple of hours after the rain...
a beautiful, sunny day.

during clean-up, I sent this text to my dad who has gone out on multiple disaster relief efforts through his job (the most recent being Haiti). it says - "is the agency going to send you to draper for disaster relief? i know this one girl* whose adrenaline is all gone..."
*"this one girl" = me. i was exhausted at that point.

the bathtub we used to empty the wet/dry vac (while vacuuming outside and in) after it got full (which it did, repeatedly).

a few amazing things from the day -

- three of us were home and able to start tackling the problem quickly
- my mom was in a session and her client saw water coming into the office as soon as it made it past the waiting room tile
-- if she hadn't been meeting with him, it would have been at least another 10/15 minutes before noticing the problem (that's when Guy woke up, and Caitlin would have seen it when she went down to get him)
-- also, my mom's client was willing to jump right in and start taking care of things, and had me invite his son (who was waiting in the car) to come in and help as well. two extra sets of hands made a big difference - especially in the beginning
- and thankfully, the storm was a micro-burst. furious for a while, but gone fairly quickly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This is Either Brains or Madness*

In the last little while, I've either discovered, or been told about some awesome races that I'm really considering actually doing sometime...

Metro Dash -

In addition to a stair climb equivalent to climbing a 15-story building...

Warrior Dash -

- I think it's awesome that you get a viking hat when you sign up for this race.

Tough Mudder -

Thankfully, they've provided a 'get tough' training list:

Training for Tough Mudder isn’t like getting ready for a triathlon, marathon, or anything else you’ve ever tried. To get ready for this grueling, one day gauntlet, you’ll have to train a bit differently.

A general tip

We suggest starting off each day taking cold, freezing showers to prepare for the icey water and mud you’ll have to wade through from start to glorious finish.

After your shower, look at yourself in the mirror. Punch yourself in the mouth. This works on two levels: the first is that you get used to pain. The second is that girls love wounds.

Then say your mantra. Every extreme mudder should have a phrase that gets them motivated. Dave Berger taught us, “Every man dies. Not every man really lives!” Yours can be whatever you want, as long as it gives you the right feeling (get your mind out of the gutter.)

Nutrition: What you put in your body has a direct effect on how you preform on May 2nd – mentally and physically. We recommend a meal of raw baby cow, preferably one you found and wrassled yourself (for city dwellers, any form of rodent, bird, or next door neighbor will do.) For dessert, snort two lines of protein powder and call it a day.

Try starting off each day with a vodka-infused wheatgrass shake before you head off for a run. Wheatgrass makes you fit. Vodka makes you tough.


THE FIRE CROTCH To replicate the burning conditions of our ring of fire, cover the inside of your pants with cayenne pepper for a 5k run through the park.
Alternate: Put tigerbalm in your eyes. Stare at the sun.


THE BULLOCKS Strap some steaks to your legs and take a run through Michael Vick’s dogpound.
Alternate: Strap some pill bottles to your legs and take a run through Lindsay Lohan’s house.


EMPIRE STATE OF MIND Since you’ll have to get used to jumping from tall places, practice jumping off buildings or moving cars the next time you take a drive.
Alternate: Make a bungee cord out of Tough Mudder armbands, band-aids, and your ex girlfriend’s underwear. Tie to a tree. Go nuts.


MAN OF STEEL Mental toughness is key – take twice the recommended dosage of viagra with your morning coffee and leave at days end without getting fired from work for sexual harassment.
Alternate: Take six shots of Jameson, and go through every number in your phone without calling or texting anyone – including hot and desperate people who may have given you their numbers last weekend.

Or, if you decide you just want to 'get fit' - they've prepared for that too.

*because I love that movie line, you get about a trillion points if you name the movie

Sunday, August 15, 2010


... even at 4:00 am. when somehow sleep has been nothing but an elusive dream all night...

I think I would enjoy taking a class from this guy.

here's the website he mentions. (pretty cool)
and here's his bio. (also pretty cool)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

10 Years is a Long Time

Today I went to a picnic that was part of my 10-year high school reunion. Wow. I'm getting old...

It went nothing like this -

I was hoping to find a clip that showed Joan Cusack (playing John Cusack's assistant) saying that when she went to her high school reunion, it was "just as if everyone had swelled." A fairly accurate description of a 10-year reunion from what I saw... but not in every case of course. This is the best I could come up with.

Oh, and while looking for the clip, I came across this one - ouch...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Water is Amazing...

Drinking Water & Weight Loss
by Maia Appleby

Don't roll your eyes! The potion for losing that excess body fat is all around you. It covers two thirds of the planet. If you eat right and exercise at the intensity, frequency and duration proper for you, but still can't get rid of a little paunch here and there, you're probably just not drinking enough water.

No need to get defensive. You're actually quite normal. Most people don't drink enough water. Most people are also carrying around a few more pounds than they would be if they did drink enough water. If you can't seem to get that weight off, try drowning your sorrows in nature's magical weight-loss mineral. It works, and here's why:

"What on Earth is 'metabolism', anyway?" People use the term all the time, but ask them what it means and you'll get all kinds of answers. Merriam Webster defines it as, "The process by which a substance is handled in the body." A little vague, but that's really all it means.

There are many forms of metabolism going on in your body right now, but the one everyone is talking about it the metabolism of fat. This is actually something that the liver does when it converts stored fat to energy. The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs.

Unfortunately, another of the liver's duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly. If the kidneys are water-deprived, the liver has to do their work along with its own, lowering its total productivity. It then can't metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently as it could when the kidneys were pulling their own weight. If you allow this to happen, not only are you being unfair to your liver, but you're also setting yourself up to store fat.

"I've tried it and I couldn't stand it!" The problem is that, though many decide to increase their water intake, very few stick with it. It's understandable. During the first few days of drinking more water than your body is accustomed to, you're running to the bathroom constantly. This can be very discouraging, and it can certainly interfere with an otherwise normal day at work. It seems that the water is coming out just as fast as it's going in, and many people decide that their new hydration habit is fruitless.

Do take heed , though. What is really happening is that your body is flushing itself of the water it has been storing throughout all those years of "survival mode". It takes a while, but this is a beautiful thing happening to you. As you continue to give your body all the water it could ask for, it gets rid of what it doesn't need. It gets rid of the water it was holding onto in your ankles and your hips and thighs, maybe even around your belly. You are excreting much more than you realize. Your body figures it doesn't need to save these stores anymore; it's trusting that the water will keep coming, and if it does, eventually, the flushing (of both the body and the potty) will cease, allowing the human to return to a normal life. It's true. This is called the "breakthrough point."

One recent finding, as irresponsible as it may be, that caffeine increases the body's fat-burning potential has many people loading up on coffee before going to the gym. This finding may hold some degree of truth in it, but caffeine is, in essence, a diuretic, and diuretics dehydrate. Caffeine may increase the heart rate, causing a few more calories to be burned, but this is at the expense of the muscles, which need water to function properly. This isn't doing your heart any favors, either. It's already working hard enough during your workout. Never mix caffeine and exercise. In fact, your best bet is to stay away from caffeine all together. It's a big bully that pushes your friend water out of your system.

Water is the best beauty treatment. You've heard this since high school, and it's true. Water will do wonders for your looks! It flushes out impurities in your skin, leaving you with a clear, glowing complexion. It also makes your skin look younger. Skin that is becoming saggy, either due to aging or weight loss, plumps up very nicely when the skin cells are hydrated.

In addition, it improves muscle tone. You can lift weights until you're blue in the face, but if your muscles are suffering from a drought, you won't notice a pleasant difference in your appearance. Muscles that have all the water they need contract more easily, making your workout more effective, and you'll look much nicer than if you had flabby muscles under sagging skin.

"Eight glasses a day? Are you kidding?!" It's really not that much. Eight 8-ounce glasses amount to about two quarts of water. This is okay for the average person, but if you're overweight, you should drink another eight ounces for every 25 pounds of excess weight you carry. You should also up this if you live in a hot climate or exercise very intensely.

This water consumption should be spread out throughout the day. It's not healthy at all to drink too much water at one time. Try to pick three or four times a day when you can have a big glass of water, and then sip in between. Don't let yourself get thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you're already becoming dehydrated. Drink when you're not thirsty yet.

Do you think water is yucky? Drinking other fluids will certainly help hydrate your body, but the extra calories, sugar, additives and whatever else aren't what you need. Try a slice of lemon or lime in the glass, or if you really think you hate water, try a flavored water. Just make sure you read the labels. Remember that you're going to be consuming a lot of this fluid.

It's probably a good idea to stop drinking water a good three hours before you go to bed. You know why.

"How cold should it be?" This is debatable. Most experts lean toward cold water, because the stomach absorbs it more quickly. There is also some evidence that cold water might enhance fat burning.

On the other hand, warmer water is easier to drink in large quantities, and you might drink more of it without even realizing it. Do whatever suits you, here. Just drink it!

When you drink all the water you need, you will very quickly notice a decrease in your appetite, possibly even on the first day! If you're serious about becoming leaner and healthier, drinking water is an absolute must. If you're doing everything else right and still not seeing results, this might just be what's missing.

link to article - here

Monday, August 9, 2010

What I've Been Doing

Four weeks ago (today!), I went to my first weight watchers meeting. It was great. My sister-in-law Jen went with me. She had been talking to me about it for about a week or so prior, answering various questions I had about the program. We've had conversations about it a few times in the past few years but I had never been as interested as I was about a month ago.

So, I took the plunge. I went in, signed up, and got going. It's been four weeks, and it's been 11.4 lbs (as of weigh-in this morning).

I have loved it so far. I love knowing how much I should be eating, and what I really love is knowing how my exercising transfers into food. It's great knowing exactly what I've 'earned' from doing the elliptical for 45 minutes. Whether or not I use all of those earned points, I like having them there as extra. Just in case.

It makes sense that weight watchers is the most successful weight loss program out there, because they teach you how to use real food to your advantage. It's not like the other extreme diets I've tried where I severely limit my options, lose weight, and then go back to eating normal food and don't know how to handle it in a healthy way. I'm definitely pro-ww! (:

It's also been wonderful to have the support of my sister-in-law - who's been through this before - and my sister - who's going through it with me. I feel healthier, and I love the changes that I'm able to make. I've also been more active in these last four weeks than I have for a long time. Seeing the number drop on the scale is also really motivating, but I'm trying to gear up for the time I hit a plateau so I don't get frustrated.

All in all, it's been a great experience.

Now, not sure how long I want to keep this picture posted... but here's a 'before' picture, taken four days before I started the program (excuse the helmet, we had just reached the top of the mountain on our bikes):

and at the risk of being redundant, here's the picture I posted yesterday (about 10 lbs. lighter!):

Obviously, the clothes and the fixed hair will help the look, but I like to think there's a visible difference already...

Perhaps I'll take a picture again in another 10 lbs. in the second outfit so I can have a better comparison... (:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Modeling Career

aka - my days as a clothing psychology guinea pig.

My mom has a friend who's working on starting a career in clothing psychology. She'll meet with someone, talk to them and get to know them a bit and what they like, etc. and then go through the closet getting rid of things that just aren't flattering, are old, or should never have been created in the first place. Sadly, I had more than a black garbage bag full of items that fell under these categories.

As a thank you for her taking the time to help me out with my clothing options and putting together some nice outfits for me (out of things I already owned, amazingly enough), I agreed to give her some pictures for a presentation she's working on.

Here's the best one (in my opinion):

I really dislike being in pictures.
Does it show?


I think my head is going to explode.

And then I think about what that would look like, and I really hope it doesn't happen.

image found here

Friday, August 6, 2010

Perhaps Another Reason I Want To Go To Italy

I'll admit - I cried a little bit while watching this.
Sometimes I just need a good hug.


Do I Dare???

I just saw that I would have to almost half the time that I got when running the LA marathon. Is this something I want to work for in the next five years (and few months) before I move up to the next age group?

Not sure.

Just thinking about it...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Like Nice People

Lessons Learned -

Lesson 1:
when the bluest sky you can see is this far away, there's a reason for that

Lesson 2:
when it's been thundering and raining on and off all day, it's very likely that it will continue doing so.
Mother Nature doesn't bluff

Lesson 3:
there are nice people in the world

while walking with Dingo, the stroller, a blanket, my nephew, and a leash, I thought I could beat the next bout of rain.
that didn't happen.
while walking past one of many houses, I heard someone call out, "Do you need an umbrella? Hold on, I'll bring you one."
This nice man ran out holding an umbrella out for me.
I took it back to him after returning home - much drier than I would have been had I not had an umbrella to use.

I'll say it again - I Like Nice People.
I also love walks in the rain.
And I love thunder.

sidenote: when I pass this, it almost makes me want to buy a telephone poll and put it up in my yard so I can grow something that looks this cool.

a closer look

I Want to Live the Dream...

...I just had no idea that this was it.