Thursday, July 31, 2008

reducing consumption

Christian and I have been trying to reduce our consumption lately. We've been thinking a lot about how much we all throw away and how much we all recycle. Recycling is great and all, but reducing our initial consumption is just that much better.

In fact, concentrating on reducing consumption is going to keep me from spending money. With every thing I consider buying, I am stopping to think, "Is this worth the space in a landfill or the energy it takes to recycle it?" And it's usually not. Here are a couple of our tiny triumphs.

The day after we got back from Hawaii, Christian and I were at Target (I love Target) buying toilet paper or something like that. We walked past the ipods and Christian suggested we get one. I think he felt really bad that mine was stolen in Hawaii. But the ipods were in a special clamshell package merely to showcase the fact that it came with a gift card. So the 3-inch ipod and the 3-inch gift card were housed in a 15-inch plastic clamshell. We looked at the absolutely ridiculous use of plastic and walked away. No thank you.

At the grocery store, Christian grabbed some apple sauce for me. I normally get the individual sizes so I can take them to work. But then he immediately put it back on the shelf and grabbed the big jar, reminding me that we had little food containers at home that I could use to take apple sauce to work. Not to mention we can use the glass jar as a flower vase.

After swimming laps on Monday, April and I went to Target (did I mention I love that place?) to get a battery for my scale. (Little piece of advice--if you normally depend on a scale to warn you when you're gaining weight, don't let it sit there with a dead battery for over a month--very bad things could happen.) So at Target I was soooo thirsty. SO thirsty. And I almost bought myself a bottle of water. But I stopped to think about the fact that I would be home in less than a half hour and could just drink some water when I got home. I avoided spending money (even if it was just a dollar), and I used one less plastic bottle.

Baby steps, right?

serious butt kicking

Well, last night I was so tired that I went to sleep at 8:45pm (and slept until 7:30am). And today my arms, shoulders, back, abs, butt, quads, and calves are sore. I think that confirms that Jillian's workout is officially a butt kicker.

Anyone want to join me after work today for another butt kicking?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

talk talk ramble ramble

1. On Monday I went swimming with April! I hate actually getting in the pool, but once I'm in I love swimming laps. And April's arms are so ripped that I can't help but want to look like her. Granted, she carries around two little boys all day, and I'm sure that contributes to her nice arms. But I'll just pretend it's all from swimming.

2. Yesterday I was a guest speaker in Sally's ESL class. I talked to the students about Stanford and the School of Medicine since they will be taking a field trip to Stanford at the end of the week. Thanks, Sally! I want to teach. This weekend I am going to take the plunge and start applying for teaching jobs.

3. Last week I bought Jillian Michaels' Making the Cut book, thinking it would be a nice 30-day program for Christian and me to do together. It's hard core. She's hard core. We haven't started the meal plan yet (that takes a lot of advanced planning--grocery shopping, meal planning, time...), but this morning we tried the first workout. We got up a little after 6, lugged our weights, exercise ball, and jumprope to the park, and the proceeded to kill ourselves for the next 45 minutes. It was so hard. I am such a wimp. We are officially biggest losers.

4. As part of my eating healthy/exercise regime, I am trying to drink more water. If you've worked out with me, you know I just don't drink a lot. I have to force myself to drink. Miss Jillian (aka Crazy Woman) says to drink 80 ounces of water a day. I'm proud of myself when I drink 30 in a day. But I've broken it down. 8 ounces in the morning, refill my 16-ounce bottle every 2 hours at work, and 8 ounces in the evening. That doesn't sound too difficult, right? I guess I'll just have to get used to getting up to pee at night again.

5. Veronica and Josh (and Savannah!) are coming on Friday! They will be with us for a whole week! We are so excited. And Richard is coming home this weekend, too, so we will have a very full house! Not to mention Dianna will probably be over every night since V&J will be here. Party at our house!!

6. The Wades are stopping by, too! They are on their way to China. Yep! China! The rest of us are all jealous of the Wade/Layton trip to China. Admit it. Even those of you who don't know them are jealous. And in true Julia style, what are we doing on the one day she's here? Running at the crack of dawn! Sweet.

7. Last night I cooked fresh spinach. And I ate it. And I liked it. I'm all grown up now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

can you see me?

Did someone forget to tell me it's National Invisible Bikers Day? Or National Bad Drivers Day? Or National Fear for Your Life if You Ride a Bike Day?

It's not uncommon for drivers to be absolutely clueless when it comes to sharing the road with cyclists. And I'm not going to deny that there are some pretty clueless bikers out there, too, but today my rant is about the drivers. I normally have to deal with only one or two ridiculous drivers on my ride home. But today was different.

It all started on Stanford campus. Apparently I'm either invisible or I look like I'm standing still on my bike. Like always, a number of people just walked right out in front of me without looking both ways. Some even looked both ways, saw me, and stepped out in front of me anyway. Hello?! Do they not think that 25 pounds of metal topped with a 135-pound living organism moving almost 15 miles per hour isn't going to hurt when it slams into them? Come on, people.

Then there are the Stanford students/staff/faculty who ride bikes but run all stop signs and have no concept of right of way. When you are on a sidewalk or on a small road, you should really slow down before you ride out onto the main road. Nope. Not at Stanford. There's no looking, no slowing down. I can't even count the number of times I've been riding straight down Serra Mall and had to hit the breaks for someone who came flying out of nowhere. How are these people still alive?

Is it true that the more book smarts you have, the less street smarts you have?

But that's a pretty normal day for me. It was the rest of the ride home that really surprised me. I had so many cars pull out in front of me or speed up to get in front of me only to cut me off. I guess when people see a bike, they automatically assume it is going really slow and that they have plenty of time to pull out in front of it. Or walk out in front of it. Or make a 3-point turn in front of it. No, people. We are actually moving quite fast and you are now in our way.

First prize goes to the lady who decided to gun it and make a left turn as the light turned yellow--only I was already halfway into the intersection. I actually had to stop so she wouldn't hit me and then back up my bike to get out of the intersection. The worst part is that she never even saw me--and she came within 10 feet of me.

So I'm declaring today the first annual National Bad Driver Invisible Biker Fear For Your Life If You're On a Bike Day. Chances are tomorrow might be the same.

Do me a favor if you're a pedestrian. Recognize that bikes move fast and you probably shouldn't step out in front of them!
And do me a favor if you drive a car. Open your eyes!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

lunch time

You say tomato... I say lunch.

Mmmmmm. It's actually really nice to be eating healthy lunches after a week of stuffing myself with restaurant food.

Here's to cherry tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

maui: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The Good:
1. Enjoying Deirdre and Mike's wedding. It was absolutely beautiful. We were honored to be a part of it.

2. Swimming with turtles every time we snorkeled. They're just so graceful. Underwater pics will hopefully follow shortly.
3. Shark spotting while scuba diving! Christian saw it. I was no doubt off marveling at a piece of coral.
4. Surf lessons! Ok, we were "surfing" on boards the size of garage doors going about 1 mile per hour, but at least we were standing up!
5. La Perouse bay. My favorite part of the island.

6. Sunsets.

7. Running all alone early in the morning in Hana.

8. Falling asleep to rain pouring on our tin roof in Hana.

9. The road back from Hana. We were way more awake on the way back and the rain and clouds made it so beautiful.

10. Geckos.

11. Discovering I'm an artist. Sure I traced an outline first, but the rest is all me, baby.

12. The Volcom store in Lahaina--a nice rash guard for me and nice pants for Christian.
13. Lots and lots of time with my best bud.

The Bad:
1. Leaving for Hawaii in serious need of a tan. Returning from Hawaii in serious need of a tan. (In my defense, Angie and Nuala both have Philipino blood.)

2. Christian puking off the side of the scuba boat.
3. Eating way too much food and candy. Wait. Is that bad?
4. The road to Hana during dry season. Still beautiful, but most of the "roaring" waterfalls were actually trickles at best.
5. Sleeping in a different bed for a week. Achy bodies are no fun.
6. Not buying a new camera before going to Hawaii. That sunset at La Perouse bay would have made a great picture. Would have--if the camera hadn't died. Like always.
7. Mosquito bites.
10. Losing the stickers for our dive log. They were in my hand in the car and not in my hand in the condo.
11. The poor turtle with a huge fishing hook in its arm. I didn't dare try to pull it out, but for how long he floated next to me, I was starting to think he was asking me to.

And The Ugly:
1. My hair in the morning.

2. The style of wearing your bikini bottom halfway down your butt. We saw one girl with a very nice butt that could almost pull it off. And one girl butt that definitely could not. I'm just not interested in seeing 4 inches of crack.
3. Getting my ipod stolen out of our car while scuba diving. So sad!
4. Hiking an hour on a lava trail (imagine walking on fist-sized lava rocks for an hour) only to find the snorkel spot too rough and having to turn around and hike all the way back. The first half hour was fun. After that it just sucked. To add insult to injury, the water was so clear we could see all the fish taunting us--just too rough to actually get in.

The good, the bad, and the ugly make for wonderful memories that we'll laugh about for a long time. We had an amazing vacation. Thanks for having us at your wedding, Deirdre! It was so beautiful!
See the rest of the pictures on our Smugmug page.

skyland mountain run

What a beautiful race! Ashley, Lenessa, David, and I ran the Skyland Mountain Run 5k/10k. Ok, David walked, but the rest of us ran! Radonich Ranch is beautiful, as you can see below. And the race ran along a mountain-top road looking down on the Santa Cruz Mountains. Top it all off with a pancake breakfast and a couple of winning raffle tickets! (Wine and an egg carton of bird seed.) Thanks guys! It was fun!

More pics on Smugmug.

4th of july

I'm waaaay behind on this whole blog thing.

4th of July in Tahoe! Lots of fun. Running, mountain biking, jumping off the dock, miniature golf, eating, hanging out, lots of fun family time, and plenty of sleep! This time we actually rented the neighbor's cabin, too, and it was well worth it. 20 people in a tiny cabin just wouldn't have worked. And other than the boat floating away, the weekend was awesome.

See the rest of the Tahoe pics on our Smugmug page.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

good idea / bad idea #8: packing

Good idea: Packing last minute the night before your flight. I mean, who really wants to spend their whole day packing?

Bad idea: Packing last minute the night before your flight and realizing at 11pm that you sent your only luggage to camp with your brother-in-law. CRAP!!!

(Good thing we know Brooklyn stays up late. We're borrowing some luggage from them. We owe you guys big time. Ashley and Tyler--you were next on our hit list, but we weren't thrilled about having to drive all the way to your house at 11pm.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

6 hours

6 hours. I've estimated that I will be spending about 6 hours of awake time at home between now and when we leave for the airport on Sunday morning. (The rest of the time I'll be out playing and running. I have my priorities straight.) I have not spent one minute getting ready to leave for Hawaii. I still need to pack and finish altering the dress I'm wearing to the wedding (finding a modest summer dress that fits the color scheme of the wedding is practically impossible). Do you think 6 hours is enough time? I sure hope so.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

retrato en sepia

I finally finished my book: Retrato en Sepia by Isabel Allende. I started it over a year and a half ago, and I finally finished it this week (walking to and from work, lunch, and everywhere else I went).

I'm not a big book critic (you have to actually read books to be a critic) and I'm fairly easily pleased, but this book is so obviously good that I can't wait to read the next book I purchased by her (Eva Luna--it's sitting on my dresser). I'm sure the book is wonderful in English, but a huge part of what I loved about it was the beautiful way she used the Spanish language. I crave being able to use Spanish the way she does. The emotion was so real. The metaphors were eye-opening. The history was enlightening. And the characters were real.

While I don't normally have "favorite quotes" or things like that, I couldn't deny that line after line was intriguing. These were some beautiful and powerful lines I came across in the past couple of days. Granted, they are much more beautiful in context, but this will have to do:

"...el amor es un contrato libre que se inicia en un chispazo y puede concluir del mismo modo. Mil peligros lo amenazan y si la pareja lo defiende puede salvarse, crecer como un arboly dar sombra y frutos, pero eso solo ocurre si ambos participan."

"La vida es larga, Aurora. Ahora lo ve todo negro, pero el tiempo cura y borra casi todo. Esta etapa es como andar por un tunel a ciegas, le parece que no hay salida, pero le prometo que la hay. Siga andando, nina."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I had the most wonderful 4th of July weekend. It was relaxing and invigorating and just plain fun. And I'll post all about it as soon as I load my pictures on my computer. It was so wonderful that it seems wrong (for lack of a better word) that I'm leaving for Hawaii. Two vacations in a row seem excessive. Not that I'm complaining. Bring on the excess.

I debated posting about this, but after a great conversation with my friend Kerri last night, I realized many people feel this way and it wouldn't hurt to write about it.

My weekend in Tahoe got me thinking about insecurities. There's no better time to bring out your insecurities than when you're around your family. I love my family. We get along well and I consider them all my friends. I couldn't ask for a better family. But they're probably the people I also find most intimidating. (I'm not intimidated easily, so that's actually not saying much.)

I don't know if it has to do with being the youngest or if it's just my personality, but I have gotten my fair share of teasing from my family while growing up. I'm a very happy person, I like to talk (probably too much), and things often come out of my mouth that make sense in my head but don't always come out right. Put all these things together and I'm an easy target for teasing. But I am also very sensitive and emotional. I try not to be, but I always have been. My family already knows that, too.

The interesting thing is that I am incredibly confident in all other aspects of my life, but when I get around my family I am on guard. I don't mean to make myself sound like I had a wounded childhood or that I have serious baggage. That's not the case whatsoever. It's much more subtle than that. We all tease each other a lot, and it's normally just fine (I'm guilty of plenty of teasing), but occasionally a comment really gets to me.

I tried to convince myself multiple times this weekend that those same comments would bounce off my other family members with no problem and that I shouldn't let them bother me. But then it got me thinking--is everyone affected the same way? Do we all just pretend that the teasing has no effect? Does everyone feel the very real sting of sarcastic comments? Or just overly sensitive people like me?

And are we so engrained in the childhood "roles" of our families that we just are automatically perceived (and treated) a certain way?

Like I said, my family is awesome. And I had a very fun weekend. And I am a very very confident person. I love my life, I'm happy with the decisions I have made. But I've just found it so interesting how easily simple feelings from back in your not-so-confident days can show up out of nowhere and completely throw you for a loop.

Does any of that make sense?

Monday, July 7, 2008


I obviously have my priorities in line. I was on the way back to my desk after getting a slice of mango mousse from a coworker when our fire alarm went off. No drill was scheduled, so we all quickly grabbed our stuff to head downstairs.

I grabbed my phone and started to walk away from my desk. But then I realized it would probably be a good idea to grab my wallet from out of my bike bag. I didn't want to bring the entire bike bag, because it's just too big and I'm lazy. But as I was finding my wallet, it occurred to me that if the building did in fact burn down, it would be nice to still have my bike bag (biking clothes, clipless shoes, lunch, calendar, makeup). So I finally just grabbed the entire thing and headed downstairs.

Once we were all assembled outside our building, my coworkers started pointing out that I obviously had my priorities in line.

Even though I had actually debated leaving my entire bike bag at my desk, I was still holding (and eating) my plate of mango mousse.

(In my defense, Deirdre remembered to bring down the wedding stuff she was working on, but forgot the office emergency kit. We know what's important.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

coral getting it on?

So I checked with one of the recommended dive shops in Maui (Mike Severns Diving) about their dives, and in their response they invited us to join them on a special early morning dive to potentially see coral spawning. Yep. You heard that right. Coral spawning.

Am I supposed to jump up and down about this? I mean, it sounds interesting, but not exactly riveting. After looking it up online, I found out that people actually plan vacations around this phenomenon! The date is carefully calculated and divers go out hoping to see the coral spawn. It seems this consists of the coral letting off millions of little bundles of eggs and sperm until it looks like they are smoking.

I'm torn. This is like going out with a bunch of bird watchers in hopes of spotting a rare breed of finch. Like I said--interesting, but not riveting.

On the other hand, if this is something that people wait all year to see, and I just happen to be there at the right time, why not? I mean, who doesn't want to swim around in coral sperm? Hmmmm.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

maui, here we come!

We leave for Deirdre's wedding in 12 days and we haven't even talked about what we want to do when we get there! We really are those kind of vacationers. We just show up and figure it out. For our honeymoon, we found ourselves in middle-of-nowhere on the Costa Maya in Mexico and THEN decided what to do there. It's kind of fun that way.

But I've been looking at things to do in Hawaii, and I want to do everything! Of course we can't exactly afford to do everything, so I have to narrow things down. Here is the list of things I want to do:

Helicopter tour
Road to Hana
Horseback riding
Volcano visit
ATV tours
Hang gliding
Surfing lessons

Hmmmmmmm. Not sure how we're going to pull that off considering we have to fit a wedding somewhere in there.

Top picks for me: hiking, snorkling, scuba, massage, Hana (ok, and kayaking). But everything looks SOOOO good!

Any recommendations for us?