Saturday, April 30, 2011

Late April Snow Day

Woke up this morning to ... lots of snow. Which would be less surprising if it weren't the very last day of April. :)

April Snow
View out the front door

April Snow
Went upstairs to get a better view of the road and driveway

Homey saying Hi
Sometimes when I'm sitting at the computer, Homey will come over and look down the window well to say hi. Occasionally he brings his ball in the hopes that I will come out and play.

Update: The day didn't end up being quite as bad as it started out. I took these "after" pictures a mere 10 hours later in the day.

Homey declined to participate in the "after" version of his photo.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Y5K #2

So, rather than make a separate entry for every 5K related thing that I do, I'm thinking I'll just try to post an update once a week or so, recapping the latest developments. Since last I wrote:

  • Last Wednesday, I hit the treadmill for a set of 5 minutes walking and 1 minute jogging. (with 5 minutes of walking to start and end) And my right foot really was bugging me quite a bit. Not until I first did some jogging, but then throughout the rest of the workout. So that kind of bugged. Made me wish for warmer weather so I could run outdoors.

  • Friday, after getting back from Natalie's graduation in Provo, the day was looking nice, so I headed out for another 5/1 set in the neighborhood by my house. And really had almost no foot pain. Don't know what's different about the treadmill, but something seems to be different.

  • Saturday morning, I finally made it to Salt Lake Running Company to get some new shoes. I sometimes get nervous about trying new things, so I called Julie and got her to accompany me over there. And wouldn't you know, she happened to know one of the guys working there. (Of course she did). Anyway, that made it nice to know that I was just getting worked by a salesman. I mean maybe I was, but at least it was a friend of a friend. :) Anyway, he had me run on their treadmill and we looked at the video and he showed me that I overpronate which probably exacerbates the foot pain that I have. Which I kind of suspected from digging around online about the location of my pain. After that he picked out several pairs of shoes for me to try on, and when I found one I liked best then we tried out some inserts. None of the inserts really felt that comfortable, in fact the most comfortable one was actually one that he'd put in the wrong shoe (left insole in the right shoe). Not sure what that says about me and my feet, but in any case, I opted for the time being to just stick with the sock liners that came in the shoes. Oh, and I even learned what the 2nd pair of eyelets at the top of the shoe are for. Something called butterfly lacing. Who knew?
Pearl Izumi Isoshift
My new shoes.

  • Monday (today) I hit the treadmill in the exercise room again, to test out my new kicks on a 4/1.5 minute walking/jogging set. And while I did still have a little pain, it was nothing like what I was feeling with the old pair. So that was nice. I was able to run relatively pain-free and felt like I got some good exercise. Still total distance came out right around 2.2 miles. Same as what I did with the 5/1 sets, but those were actually a couple minutes longer total. (I do 4 sets of each plus the 5 minutes of warm-up/cool-down walking on the ends).

Anyway, it was nice to finally get some new shoes and to have been able to stick to my training schedule so far. By the end of this week, I'm supposed to be up to 1 minute of jogging for every 3 minutes of walking, so that should be interesting. I'm optimistic. Now if only spring would get here instead of forecasts with highs in the 40s and morning snow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Y5K #1

A couple weeks ago as I was chatting with my good friend Julie, I mentioned that sometimes I feel like I need to find some more hobbies or set some new goals or something to make me feel like I'm doing something with my life when I'm not at work. Anyway, I jokingly said, "Maybe I should train to run a marathon, isn't that what girls do when they reach a certain age and are still single?", because honestly, it does seem like most of the girls I know are training for a marathon or a half-marathon, or a triathlon, or a Ragnar relay, or something. And I'm sure that it's not just girls doing that, but maybe guys just aren't as outspoken about it? I don't know.

In any case, this post is not to say that I have actually decided to train to run a marathon, but that I WOULD like to train to run a 5K. Why not a marathon? I guess because 1) I don't really love running. It gives me an excuse to catch up on some podcasts or listen to some good tunes, but I'm not really that excited about running 26 miles all at once, and 2) 26 miles is a long way, and I imagine it takes a lot of time to run that far once, much less to prepare to run that far. And like I said, since I don't love running, that seems like an awful lot of time to dedicate to something I don't particularly care for.

Anyhow, I pulled out the 5K training schedule for beginners that I got years ago as part of preparation for the 30th Ward 5K (Go Big or Go Home!) and looked at where I'd need to be on the 10 week schedule in order to be ready on schedule for a 5K in June that Meili sent me information about. It's only about 8 weeks from now, but the first two weeks were mostly just walking, and despite not doing a lot of running, I HAVE at least been exercising semi-regularly, so I started about where I needed to be time-wise, and did what was on the schedule this past Saturday and Monday. Basically it was walking for 5 minutes then jogging for 30 seconds. Pretty rough, I know. :) Today I'm supposed to take the big step up to 1 minute of jogging for every 5 minutes of walking. So far it seems doable. :) I really would like to be able to get to the point of being able to jog the entire 5K (not too concerned with my time or anything, just would like to know that I can jog that far). I'm pretty sure I haven't done that since I ran the 5th grade 5K back at GMS. (Go Falcons!)

My biggest concern is that in times past when I had a similar goal that I was derailed by foot pains. I'm hoping that I can get over my fear of the unknown and make it down to Salt Lake Running Company, a store that's been recommended to me by several people, and have them help me find shoes that work better for my form and feet.

As part of my goal, I thought it might be helpful to kind of track my progress here on the blog. Tonight, it's looking like I'll be hitting the treadmill in the exercise room across the hall. Partly because of the gloomy weather outside, and partly because I do still want to get in some minimal weight training once or twice a week while I work on my 5K goal. I AM definitely looking forward to running outside more once the weather finally clears up. I enjoy getting to know the neighborhoods around my house and the variety of exploring new places. I get kind of bored staring straight ahead at the wall across from me when I'm on the treadmill.

Anyone with tips or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sometimes I fail to plan ahead for the weekend

As sometimes happens, I forgot to make any plans for something fun and weekend-y to do this Saturday evening, so I ended up taking myself to the mall for some shopping. It was good to get out. :) Sometimes, maybe because I spend a lot of my life working mostly alone in a hospital basement, I forget that there are tons of people out there wearing skinny jeans over high top sneakers with big gauged out ears.

In any case, my #1 purpose in going to the mall was to purchase some new dress shoes. Goal: Accomplished! Somehow I let the salesman upsell me into the most expensive pair of shoes I've ever bought. Probably even more expensive than the basketball shoes I had in high school, though maybe not when you adjust for inflation. In any case, they better last me a while. They were more comfortable than the slightly cheaper pair I'd picked out for myself, and well... I just wanted to be done shopping, so I bought them.

Also, given today's heat wave (Tangent: somehow the Utah Red-White scrimmage always seems to be my first sunburn of the year. This morning I looked outside and thought there was no way I'd need sunscreen. Then I threw on my sweatshirt and headed out. 1 hour of glorious sunshine-soaked football later, I had developed a nice red sheen, especially on the south side of my head and neck. Someday I'll learn... And I guess I did also take one of the dogs out for a nearly 3 mile walk later in the day, so that might have contributed to my sun intake as well. Anyway. Tangent over.) Where was I? Oh yes. Given today's heat wave, I figured while at the mall I should stop by American Eagle in search of some new cargo shorts. For some reason I love theirs the best. And it's pretty much the only thing I would ever buy there. And usually I don't think to look until everything in my size is sold out. So I stopped in, found some shorts that were slightly discounted, was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a special Today Only 20% off everything sale (which only makes up for the extra I paid on shoes a tiny bit) and headed out with a new pair of cargos.

Finished the shopping off with a "just for fun" swing past TJ Maxx where I browsed through pretty much everything, before settling on a long-sleeve Utah thermal for $5 off the clearance rack.

Finished my night on the town with myself off with a stop at Sonic. Cuz when I take myself out for a night on the town, I'm classy like that. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Old Book, New Book #33: The Book Thief -> Bearers of the Black Staff

The Book Thief

Finished "The Book Thief" this past weekend. And yes, it was, as I had been informed, a bit emotional at the end. But because of the way that author chose to structure the book, there really weren't any surprises. So that was...interesting, to have the end of the book given away relatively early on. And I always take a little bit of issue with fictional accounts that seem to go for the big emotional payoff in a manipulative way. I mean, it's fiction, right? So the author can make the story however they want. I have a hard time just taking some stories as given when I know that it was a story invented by someone and they had control over whether or not its intentionally sad. Anyway...probably something going on with me more than anything. Anyway, I'll say that I did enjoy the book and thought it gave a little different perspective on the Holocaust than what is usually given. The perspective of the common (or perhaps poorer than common) German.

Up next? Well, let's just say that I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my old pal Terry Brooks is continuing to crank out Shannara stories, and the latest one just happened to arrive at my local library last night (as a result of my requesting it). How long will I keep reading these books? Probably as long as he keeps writing them. Me and TB go way back. Like 3rd or 4th grade. My 3rd grade, not his. :)
Bearers of the Black Staff

Friday, April 08, 2011

What's the deal with Walmart Pharmacy?

Sometimes I just don't understand the Pharmacy at Wal-mart. Maybe I should stop going there. :)  I assume that I won't be able to get 90 days worth of my generic cholesterol medicine for $5 somewhere else. Maybe I should find out.  In any case, while I do still go to Wal-mart, here are some suggestions:

1) Can we get an express lane for people who just want to "Drop Off" prescriptions at the "Drop Off" window and "Pick Up" prescriptions at the "Pick Up" window?  Without fail, every time I go to do either, the person or persons in front of me in line take 5-10 minutes to do whatever it is they're trying to do.  I don't know enough about what the possibilities are up there to even know what else they could be doing. I know when I go up there I either hand them my prescription, or they hand me my pills.  It's a matter of moments. Maybe they could put a "0 questions or less" sign on this hypothetical express line, so people would understand it's like the express lane up at the grocery checkout.

2) Why does it take a minimum of 45 minutes to count out 90 pills and put them in a little bottle? Once or twice I've dropped off my prescription and waited for it to be done, but it seems like it should be pretty straightforward. Now I just leave my prescription and say I'll come back the next day for it.

3) Last night, after I had signed and paid for my prescription, I had to go to a different line (the "Consultation" window) so that the pharmacist could put my pill bottle in the Wal-mart pharmacy bag. Huh? I mean she did ask me if I was having any muscle pain, which, thankfully, I'm not.  But why couldn't the clerk put my pills in a bag? Weird.

Anyway, I guess, as usually happens, you get what you pay for, right? :) As I only have to do this once every 3 months, I'll live with it for now.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Old Book, New Book #32: The Devil in the White City -> The Book Thief


While I was in Hawaii, I finished off "The Devil in the White City". It turned out to be a pretty interesting account of both the Chicago World Expo and of the serial killer who was living near the fair and his eventual capture.  It made me sad to find out that most of the amazing architecture built specifically for the fair burned not long after. Definitely seemed like a beautiful place.  And the birthplace of the ferris wheel. Who knew? Anyone, I liked this book and would recommend it to others.

Assuming that I would probably finish "The Devil in the White City" while I was in Hawaii, I wisely through another book in my bag, "The Book Thief". I honestly knew nothing about this book going in, just that it was recommended to me by several friends. The description on the back made it clear that this was a "Holocaust" book, or at least a book that took place in Germany during that era.  I've read a few of these in my time ("The Hiding Place", "The Devil's Arithmetic", "Number the Stars") and I wondered if this would be similar to those or not. I'll save the answer to that for when I've finished. Stay tuned! 

The Book Thief

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hawaii Eleven-O: Day 7

One nice thing about taking the red-eye flight home is that you at least get to spend that whole day still being on vacation. No mini half-day or something.

We started our final day in Hawaii (for now) by driving over to the southwest side of the island for some more snorkeling at a place called Electric Beach. It's called that because there's a power plant nearby that has cooling lines going out into the water, and where the warm air comes out of the lines, there's a lot of coral that has formed, and lot of sea life gathers there.

It was a little bit of a swim to get out to the main coral formations, though there was a fair amount of stuff to see along the way.  The coral itself was pretty cool, growing on top of what I assume are the cooling lines. Some kind of big structure at least.  And there were some large schools of fish swimming around down there too.  The water was pretty deep, probably the deepest place we snorkeled, and there were even some scuba divers down below.  Snorkeling always feels a little surreal to me, because you're looking down into the water and it pretty much feels like you are underwater. But you can still breathe and see.  Makes me feel like I'm watching a movie or something. Anyway...  Additionally there was a pretty strong current (at least compared to other places we swam) that made it so you had to keep swimming pretty much constantly to stay in place over any one particular spot.  I spent some of my time swimming against the current to the far end and then letting the current wash me back across while I looked down on the fish.  At one point I did see a turtle swimming around near the warm air outlet, but the temperature difference there made the water a little murky, and there were also a crowd of snorkelers over there who eventually blocked my view and I lost track of him before I could get a photo.  Oh, one other thing about snorkeling, because your view is so limited, it seems like whenever I was snorkeling near other people, the chances of someone accidentally kicking me was pretty high, so you kind of have to swim defensively. :) I hope I didn't kick too many people unknowingly myself.

Probably Paletail Unicornfish
A school of what I think are probably paletail unicornfish. The ocean floor is way down where you can see some faint dark spots.

George diving down
George diving down for a closer look. Someday I'll feel good about doing that. :)

Electric Beach
I really liked the view from where mom sat and read while we were snorkeled (as you may recall).

After we got done snorkeling, we headed back to Kaneohe. We discussed possibly going for a hike, but it seemed like everyone was pretty content to have some last time to relax at the house and just pack up their things and enjoy some family time together. For lunch we went to a place called Zippy's that is apparently a local establishment. I wasn't all that impressed with what I got (a sausage and eggs breakfast plate -- everything was a little on the cold side).  I swapped photos with George & Kimi and played with the kids some more. For dinner, I don't even remember. Maybe we had leftovers or a sandwich.

Silly straw for a silly girl
Elise playing with a crazy straw

In any case, eventually the time came to say goodbye and we headed back to the airport, dropped off our rental car, boarded the plane and headed back to Salt Lake. I am usually pretty good at sleeping on planes and this time was no exception, except that the temptation of free movies kept me up for a couple hours. I eventually got about 4 hours of sleep, which made for a tired next few days.

As usual, while I was sad to leave, I was happy to return home. I enjoy seeing new places, but I always like the feeling of coming home to my own bed and my own place and just being at home.

More photos from Day 7.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Hawaii Eleven-O: Day 6

Waimea Bay

After a couple days off from wearing my trunks, Day 6 found us back at the beach once again.  We checked out of "Uncle Jake's Beach House" and headed out to Waimea Bay for a morning of swimming, boogie boarding, and snorkeling.  Waimea had nice soft sand and a really steep slope up from the water to the beach, which made for some fun boogie board riding.  Just from the shore we were able to see a turtle and eventually some of us got in the water and went over to check out the rocks on the east end of the bay.

Unlike Hanauma, the water was much deeper here and more of a rocky bottom than coral.  The wave action made it a little trickier to stay in place and take photos and I was also a little leery of getting thrown against a rock or something, so I didn't get in too close to the bigger rocks at the edge of the bay.  Not nearly as stressful as my trip to Shark Cove in October, but a step up from Hanauma.

Natalie at Waimea
Natalie snorkeling

Paletail Unicornfish, Convict Tangs
Looking down on some paletail unicornfish and convict tangs

Big school of Whitebar Surgeonfish in the background
There was a big school of whitebar surgeonfish swimming around through the rocks, but this was about as close as I wanted to get to the rocks while trying to take a photo

A small group of trumpetfish

After a nice morning at Hanauma, we drove over to Hale'iwa, historic surfing town, to get some shave ice (snow cone if you will) from Matsumoto's.  Oh, but first we ate our lunches.  Then dessert. :)  Among the interesting things at Matsumoto's is that they put sweetened condensed milk on top of the snowcone.  And if you want, they also put some red japanese beans down in the bottom. I was unsure of why you would want beans in the bottom of a snowcone, but I figured I might as well give it a shot.  Having done that, I'm still a little uncertain of why you would want beans down there.  I mean, they tasted ok. Like beans.  And there were a lot of them. So many that I didn't want to finish them. Beans to wash down a snowcone seems like an odd idea. But I'm glad I tried it out to see what it was like.

Surfer Girl!
Little surfer girl

Eating our shave ice

After leaving Hale'iwa, it was time to head back to Kaneohe.  We drove past the Dole plantation again and back through Honolulu and back over the mountains to Kaneohe.

My younger brother Ben had been waiting for his mission call to arrive for a couple weeks before we came to Hawaii and it had been decided that it came to Grantsville on the Wednesday we were in Hawaii, that we'd have some friends at the post office overnight it to Hawaii so he could open ASAP, and also to open while we were all there together. It did arrive in Grantsville on Wednesday (Day 5) and overnight mail was guaranteed to be in Hawaii in 2 days. My dad was increasingly nervous that overnight mail from Utah to Hawaii would take more than the 2 days we had.  So when we arrived back in Kaneohe, Kimi called the post office just to find out what she would need to do the next day (Friday) to pick it up. While on the phone, she just asked to see if there was any way it would have already arrived. And amazingly, it had!  So Ben and Lucy loaded up in the car with Kimi and they went to pick it up.

While they were gone the rest of us made guesses as to where he might go. I guessed Maine or Honduras. They returned in short order, we shared our guesses with Ben and he got down to the business of opening it up:

Ben's mission call
Ben, ready to open his call

Reading his call
The moment of truth...

I'll let Ben tell you himself:

How crazy is that? Opening a mission call to Hawaii while being in Hawaii? Part of the reason we went to Hawaii was so that we could all go there as a family before Ben left this summer on a mission. In 2 years when he's done George's family will be finishing up their time in Hawaii as well, so we thought this would probably be our (and especially Ben's) only chance to go.  Well apparently he'll be getting as much Hawaii as any of us.  I'm excited for him to go and it will definitely be strange to not have him around for a couple years.  Looking back on my own mission, though, I'm very excited for him to have some great experiences learning about the gospel and about hard work and dedication.  Way to go Elder Tripp! :)

Ben and I were in charge of dinner that night, and thought english muffin pizzas might be a fun idea and would let people customize their toppings.  It was, understandably, a little hard to keep him on task as he was busy sharing his exciting news with friends and family, but eventually we had dinner ready.

I don't recall too much specifically from the rest of that night, other than just playing with the kids and enjoying some time together.  Here's a video I took that night of Austin showing off his number skills. (He doesn't quite understand the concept of counting, though he's pretty good at reciting numbers up through about 11 or 12. Not bad for a 2 year old).

More photos from Day 6.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Hawaii Eleven-O: Day 5

Day 5 started out with another lazy morning, after our late night at the luau and show the night before.  Not entirely sure what I did, probably read my book and played with kids. Eventually, we headed out for lunch from Fumi's Shrimp, one of the various shrimp shacks along the highway north of Laie.  The ponds where they raise the shrimp are right out in the field next to shack, and they even have a tank of live shrimp next to where you order.  We got ordered a variety of shrimp (garlic buttered, spicy garlic, tempura, and coconut) and I was able to sample some of each.  They all were great. I ordered coconut since no one else had and I was the last one choosing. If I had to choose again, I'd have a hard time picking as they were all so good. Probably try to convince whoever I was with to get something different and then share with me.

Fumi's Shrimp

Remains of the Day
Remains of the shrimp

After lunch, we headed up around the end of the mountains and back into the middle of the island to the Dole pineapple plantation.  They have a few different things to do there (Austin would get really excited every time he heard the train whistle), but we settled on doing their maze (not a maze made of pineapple plants though as they're only a few feet high).  George suggested that some us use the maps provided, and another group just try to work through the maze without a map and see who would get done first.  To make things more fair, the no map group consisted of just George, Ben, and Lucy, so not much dead weight in the form of old folks, babies, or pregnant ladies to hold them back. :) I took it on myself to head up the map group.

I took Austin on my shoulders for most of the time, and he enjoyed being up high, reaching out to touch the hedges, spotting helicopters, and bouncing up and down while I was trying to read my tiny map. :) Completing the maze consisted of reaching each of 8 checkpoint stations where there was a stencil for stenciling in a station-specific shape into a corresponding square on the map card.  Austin and Elise really enjoyed coloring in the shapes.

Part of the crew
The team with maps

Definitely the kids' favorite part of the maze
Elise completing a checkpoint

In the end, we completed the maze in just about an hour. George's group got done a little before us, although to be fair, George had done the maze before and had a general idea of where the stations were, so they weren't working completely blind.

Winner's of the Maze Challenge
The winning team

After the maze, we fed fish food to the koi, shared a pineapple ice cream sundae (I sat this one out), and watched a pineapple cutting demonstration.

Pineapple split
Austin reported that the ice cream "tastes good!"

After the pineapple plantation we headed back to Laie, with a brief stop at Shark Cove because Natalie spotted a whale as we were driving past.  We saw a few spouts and I think some people saw more than that, but eventually we loaded back up and finished the trip to Laie.

Barely staying in Business
I thought this service station had a charmingly run-down feel

Happily, not too much later, another whale was spotted from the back patio. And this one put on a show for us, repeated slapping its pectoral fin, probably 10 times or more while we watched.

Mom and Natalie put together a nice dinner of swiss cheese chicken, and then the grown ups (the two married couples and myself) headed over to the nearby temple for a session while Ben and Natalie babysat the grandkids.  Probably the smallest temple I've been to, to date.  Impressive when you think that it was one of the earliest temples built.  A nice end to our night.

More photos from Day 5.