Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Merry Christmas....and what did I tell Santa I wanted...? Well, I can't tell you exactly what I want, but I have been asking for the same thing for 7 years now. If that wasn't a dead give-away, at least Santa knows and he said he would do his best ;)
Merry Christmas to everyone. May you have a wonderful time with family and friends this year and watch Linus as he tells us what Christmas is really all about!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
If not to stimulate the roots of my hair, this experience stimulated my mind to thinking that when I go, it better be in the amazing finger-to-head moment with my salon coordinator.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
See, Allie was not expected to be born until December 24th, so I listened to the first voicemail from my mom who said "Jamie went into labor, so I am coming tomorrow at 9:15, you need to pick me up." I looked at the clock that said 9:35 a.m. CRAP. I called mom. Sure enough, mom had found another ride to the hospital. WHOOPS.
I then proceeded to listen to the rest of the messages all of which let me know Jamie was headed to the hospital...I even got a message from Jamie, which made me burst into tears. Jamie was going to be a mom!! I was so excited.
I walked into the hospital room with no expectations. There was Jamie so peaceful...apparently that look of peace only happens when you are drugged ;) I immediately went to her bedside to kiss her head and hold her hand to tell her that she was superwoman and I couldn't believe this day was already here. But the moment overcame me and I just started crying instead a little frozen at the scene. Then, I saw my brother-in-law holding little Allie. My heart gave out. There she was. And there was my mom. I looked around in awe at this little family, all beaming. It's as if they all knew that this little person would change their lives forever...and in a good way. And guess what, I get to be a part of it too!
The rest of the day was spent pondering this amazing time in the lives of my sister, Jordan and little Allie. I am so excited for my family and can't wait to watch her grow up...but not too fast because she really is the cutest baby I have ever seen!! I have yet to discuss with the parents if I can post pics of their baby on this public forum...so, until then, you can see this little amazing person on my facebook.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Back to the facebook story, I had to write my dear friend that I will not be able to see her until after December 17th, but until then, she can find me at the library in the quiet study zone sitting near the windows on a chair I have taken upon myself to name Bert. And there I will sit writing my paper about the Education and Secondary Education Act and how it was shaped into the No Child Left Behind Act and the policy implications behind each amendment. I will also be sitting there writing another paper about the law surrounding teacher evaluations and how federal law and state law have affected how principals conduct teacher evaluations. I will also be studying vehemently for a 100-question rigorous examination on education law, specifically on how certain cases have shaped policies in schools. And Bert will also see me writing another paper on property tax and how it contributes to public education funds.
Bert and I have a long way to go...but for some reason I feel like the end of this semester will make me even more fond of him. So, my dear friends...until December 17th, Bert and I bid thee farewell. Adieu. Adieu.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Anyway, an article just came out in the Des News about her clothing collection and items for sale. I have a feeling I will be curious to know what happens. Anyway, thank you Audrey for your flawless acting, unique accent, unique sense of style and your contributions to society!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I am reporting that I had the hot dog about 1:30 p.m. It is now 5:56 p.m. The effects of the hot dog have worn off. So, if you are looking for the next energy item that will sustain you for at least 12 hours....hot dogs are not it...something I am sure I should have learned a long time ago.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Recently, I started talking to my dresser. Upon looking for the perfect thing to wear on a date, instead of getting frustrated that I looked and looked and looked (I even went through my winter clothes that are in storage), I decided to talk to my dresser about it. Upon rummaging for this 'oh so amazing shirt,' the conversation went something like this:
L: So, I see you have a tendency to swallow some of my favorite things. Well, I know that you can't hide that shirt I want so much to wear on my hot date tonight. You know the one I am talking about, the one with the sleeves, about this color (holding up another shirt).
I rummage around some more...nothing.
L: C'mon, I know you know where it is. Don't you want me to find it? I mean really...if I find this shirt, there is a potential that I will get a 2nd date, cause this shirt makes me look young, flirty and fun. Then if I get a lot more dates, I could get married and instead of talking to you, my dear inanimate object (and by you, I mean myself), I can talk to someone else instead. What a proposition. So, what do you think?
Dresser: Mocking silence.
After rummaging for what seemed 10 minutes, I began to get annoyed.
L: Fine, we'll see about that (obviously having no idea what I was talking about).
I proceeded to empty my dresser of all my clothing....and then HAZAA, I found it! The shirt that would surely score me a second date...and then maybe one more. And if my dresser stops eating all of my clothes, maybe...just maybe, I will give up talking to and naming inanimate objects. Until then, I feel the dresser now deserves her own name. I am thinking Flo the Klepto. What do you think?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Reauthorization of ESEA: Why We Can't Wait
Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks at the Monthly Stakeholders Meeting
|FOR RELEASE: |
September 24, 2009
Good morning and thank you so much for coming today.
As you know, this is the first of a series of public conversations our department is holding here in DC on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
This is the next phase of our Listening and Learning tour that has taken me to about 30 states and scores of schools. I have spoken with students, parents and educators all across America.
I heard their voices—their expectations, hopes and dreams for themselves and their kids. They were candid about their fears and frustrations. They did not always understand why some schools struggle while others thrive. They understood profoundly that great teaching and school leadership is the key to a great education for their kids.
Whether it's in rural Alaska or inner-city Detroit, everyone everywhere shares a common belief that education is America's economic salvation.
They see education as the one true path out of poverty—the great equalizer that overcomes differences in background, culture and privilege. It's the only way to secure our common future in a competitive global economy.
Everyone wants the best for their children and they are willing to take greater responsibility. Nobody questions our purpose.
But when it comes to defining the federal role in an education system that has evolved over a century-and-a-half—from isolated one-room schoolhouses to urban mega districts—there's a lot of confusion, uncertainty, and division.
People want support from Washington but not interference. They want accountability but not oversight. They want national leadership but not at the expense of local control.
As a former superintendent, I can tell you that I rarely looked forward to calls from Washington.
And now that I'm here I'm even more convinced that the best solutions begin with parents and teachers working together in the home and the classroom.
Our role in Washington is to support reform by encouraging high standards, bold approaches to helping struggling schools, closing the achievement gap, strengthening the field of education, reducing the dropout rate and boosting college access. All of this must lead to more students completing college.
ESEA dates back to 1965 and it has undergone a lot of changes over the years, though none as dramatic as the 2002 version known as No Child Left Behind.
Few laws have generated more debate. Few subjects divide educators so intensely.
Many teachers complain bitterly about NCLB's emphasis on testing. Principals hate being labeled as failures. Superintendents say it wasn't adequately funded.
And many parents just view it as a toxic brand that isn't helping children learn.
Some people accuse NCLB of over-reaching while others say that it doesn't go far enough in holding people accountable for results.
I will always give NCLB credit for exposing achievement gaps, and for requiring that we measure our efforts to improve education by looking at outcomes, rather than inputs.
NCLB helped expand the standards and accountability movement. Today, we expect districts, principals and teachers to take responsibility for the academic performance of their schools and students. We can never let up on holding everyone accountable for student success. That is what we are all striving for.
Until states develop better assessments—which we will support and fund through Race to the Top—we must rely on standardized tests to monitor progress—but this is an important area for reform and an important conversation to have.
I also agree with some NCLB critics: it unfairly labeled many schools as failures even when they were making real progress—it places too much emphasis on absolute test scores rather than student growth—and it is overly prescriptive in some ways while it is too blunt an instrument of reform in others.
But the biggest problem with NCLB is that it doesn't encourage high learning standards. In fact, it inadvertently encourages states to lower them. The net effect is that we are lying to children and parents by telling kids they are succeeding when, in fact, they are not.
We have to tell the truth, and we have to raise the bar. Our failure to do that is one reason our schools produce millions of young people who aren't completing college. They are simply not ready for college-level work when they leave high school.
Low standards also contribute to the nation's staggeringly high dropout rate. When kids aren't challenged they are bored—and when they are bored they quit. Students everywhere echo what 9th grader Teton Magpie told me on a reservation in Montana—adults simply don't expect enough of him and his peers.
In my view, we should be tight on the goals—with clear standards set by states that truly prepare young people for college and careers—but we should be loose on the means for meeting those goals.
We must be flexible and accommodating as states and districts—working with parents, non-profits and other external partners—develop educational solutions. We should be open to new ideas, encourage innovation, and build on what we know works.
We don't believe that local educators need a prescription for success. But they do need a common definition of success—focused on student achievement, high school graduation and success and attainment in college.
We need to agree on what's important and how to measure it or we will continue to have the same old adult arguments—while ignoring children.
So there's a lot about NCLB and American education, more broadly,that needs to change.
Over the coming months the administration will be developing its proposal for reauthorization. Before we do, however, we want to hear from you. We want your input.
Many of you represent key stakeholders. Many of you have expertise. And I know that you all have opinions. Now's the time to voice them.
You also share our commitment to children and to ensuring that when they grow up they are able to compete in the global economy of the future.
As I've travelled, there's a real and growing concern I've heard from parents that their children will be worse off than they are. The only way to address their concern is by improving education. We must educate our way to a better economy.
A few statistics tell the story:
- 27% of America's young people drop out of high school. That means 1.2 million teenagers are leaving our schools for the streets.
- Recent international tests in math and science show our students trail their peers in other countries. For 15-year-olds in math, the United States ranks 31st.
- 17-year olds today are performing at the exact same levels in math and reading as they were in the early 1970's on the NAEP test.
- And just 40% of young people earn a two-year or four-year college degree.
- The US now ranks 10th in the world in the rate of college completion for 25- to 34-year-olds. A generation ago, we were first in the world but we're falling behind. The global achievement gap is growing.
We don't need another study. We must stop simply admiring the problem. We need action.
The president has challenged us to boost our college completion rate to 60% by the end of the next decade.
We want to be first in the world again and to get there we cannot waste a minute. Every year counts. Every class counts. Every child counts.
And so the work of reauthorizing ESEA begins in states and districts across America—among educators and policy makers, parents and community leaders. This work is as urgent as it is important.
Our task is to unite education stakeholders behind a national school reform movement that reaches into every town and city—and we need your help to do it.
In the coming weeks, two people who are developing our proposal will convene these conversations—Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Carmel Martin—and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Thelma Melendez. I will attend as often as possible as will other members of our team.
To begin to frame the conversation, I want to take you back to two years before the original ESEA was passed in 1965.
I want to take you back to 1963—to a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama where a courageous young Black preacher fighting to end segregation was illegally confined for three days after being arrested for leading non-violent protests in the city.
He had nothing to pass the time except for local newspapers—one of which ran an open letter from several White clergymen urging patience and faith and encouraging Blacks to take their fight for integration out of the streets and into the courts.
That preacher wrote a response to those White clergymen in the margins of that newspaper. It was Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail—one of the most powerful and moving pieces of writing I have ever read.
It ran almost 7000 words and eloquently made the case for non-violent civil disobedience—precisely because state and local governments continued to drag their feet in integrating schools and communities and the judicial path would take too long.
This was nine years after the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools violated the constitution, but most minorities were still isolated in their own classrooms. Many still are today and we must work together to change that.
The Birmingham letter explained why Blacks could not wait for judges across America to hear their cases and issues their rulings.
Blacks had been waiting for centuries and—with Dr. King's leadership—they would wait no longer.
Even many of King's allies in the civil rights movement—like Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and Thurgood Marshall who would later serve on the Supreme Court—were urging the legal route—in part to avoid confrontations for fear that they would lead to violence—as they eventually did in Birmingham.
King had to convince them as well, that they could not wait. As he told them, justice too long delayed is justice denied. Opportunity too long delayed is opportunity denied. Quality education too long delayed is education denied.
Now I mention this because we are now in our fifth decade of ESEA—nearly half a century of education reform and direct federal involvement in this state and local issue.
We've had five decades of reforms, countless studies, watershed reports like A Nation At Risk, and repeated affirmations and commitments from the body politic to finally make education a national priority.
And yet we are still waiting for the day when every child in America has a high quality education that prepares him or her for the future.
We're still waiting to get a critical mass of great teachers and principals into underperforming schools located in underserved communities, where our failure to educate has in fact perpetuated cycles of poverty and social failure.
We're still waiting for a testing and accountability system that accurately and fairly measures student growth and uses data to drive instruction and teacher evaluation.
We're still waiting for America to replace an agrarian 19th century school calendar with an information age calendar that increases learning time on a par with other countries.
We're still waiting and we cannot wait any longer.
Despite some measurable progress in narrowing achievement gaps, boosting college enrollment and developing innovative learning models, we are still waiting for the day when we can take success to scale in poor as well as wealthy communities—in rural, urban and suburban communities.
For too many of our children—the promise of an excellent education has never materialized. We remain complacent about education reform—distracted by tired arguments and divided by the politics of the moment.
We can't let that happen. In this new century and in this global economy, it is not only unacceptable to delay and defer needed reforms—it's self-destructive. We can't allow so much as one more day to go by without advancing our education agenda.
Our shared goals are clear: higher quality schools; improved student achievement; more students going to college; closing the achievement gap; and more opportunities for children to learn and succeed.
We need to bring a greater sense of urgency to this task—built around our collective understanding that there is no more important work in society than educating children and nothing should stand in our way—not adult dysfunction, not politics, and not fear of change. We must have the courage to do the right thing.
And to those who say that we can't do this right now—we need more time to prepare and study the problem—or the timing and the politics isn't right—I say that our kids can't wait and our future won't wait.
When the ministers in Birmingham told King his protests were untimely King responded: "I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was 'well-timed.'"
This is our responsibility and our opportunity and we can't let it slip away. We have to get this done and we have to get it right.
The President has talked a lot about responsibility. He's challenged parents and students to step up and do more. He's challenged teachers and principals to step up and do more.
He's called on business and community leaders and elected officials at every level of government to step up and do more.
Education is everyone's responsibility—and you who represent millions of people across this country with a direct stake in the outcome of reauthorization—have a responsibility as well—to step up and do more.
It's not enough to define the problem. We've had that for 50 years. We need to find solutions—based on the very best evidence and the very best ideas.
So today I am calling on all of you to join with us to build a transformative education law that offers every child the education they want and need—a law that recognizes and reinforces the proper role of the federal government to support and drive reform at the state and local level.
Let's build a law that respects the honored, noble status of educators—who should be valued as skilled professionals rather than mere practitioners and compensated accordingly.
Let us end the culture of blame, self-interest and disrespect that has demeaned the field of education. Instead, let's encourage, recognize, and reward excellence in teaching and be honest with each other when it is absent.
Let us build a law that demands real accountability tied to growth and gain both in the individual classroom and in the entire school—rather than utopian goals—a law that encourages educators to work with children at every level, the gifted and the struggling—and not just the tiny percent near the middle who can be lifted over mediocre bar of proficiency with minimal effort. That's not education. That's game-playing tied to bad tests with the wrong goals.
Let us build a law that discourages a narrowing of curriculum and promotes a well-rounded education that draws children into sciences and history, languages and the arts in order to build a society distinguished by both intellectual and economic prowess. Our children must be allowed to develop their unique skills, interests, and talents. Let's give them that opportunity.
Let us build a law that brings equity and opportunity to those who are economically disadvantaged, or challenged by disabilities or background—a law that finally responds to King's inspiring call for equality and justice from the Birmingham jail and the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Let us build an education law that is worthy of a great nation—a law that our children and their children will point to as a decisive moment in America's history—a law that inspires a new generation of young people to go into teaching—and inspires all America to shoulder responsibility for building a new foundation of growth and possibility.
I ask all of us here today—and in school buildings and communities across America—to roll up our sleeves and work together and get beyond differences of party, politics and philosophy.
Let us finally and fully devote ourselves to meeting the promises embedded in our founding documents—of equality, opportunity, liberty—and above all—the pursuit of happiness.
More than any other issue, education is the civil rights issue of our generation and it can't wait—because tomorrow won't wait—the world won't wait—and our children won't wait.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Days went by and the thought didn't really ever return until another time I was in the car driving with my mom and the song came on again. I quickly turned it up almost screaming "Mom, who is this...I know this, but I don't know how." My mom listened trying to recall her memories. Alas, she didn't know. After what seemed months, my mom came to me and said, "I remember that song, but not who the artist is. I remember your babysitter we had in California (I was 4 at the time) would always blast this in our house for you kids." Ah hah!! It didn't come back to me, but it made me feel a lot better that I wasn't crazy. Mom continued by telling me that the lyrics said "Time After Time" and that is when I called my very in-tune musically adept friends to ask them if they knew who sang it.
Within the next week, I found Cindy Lauper: a lyricist of my own heart. Time After Time was the magnet to this beautiful relationship. Girls Just Want to Have Fun, another memory provoking song. Yesterday, I worked out to her She's So Unusual CD.
Don't you love it when you rediscover some part of your past that has been locked in your memory...but it is not very clear? I love it. I have since been trying to unlock bits and pieces of my childhood and have recently discovered movies from my past, including The Challengers, Teen Witch, On Our Own (all of which were watched when I was 5 or 6 at my friend Erin's house), George Michael's Careless Whisper (I don't know the memory associated with the song...just that it is ingrained in my memory), WHAM and Blackbeard's Ghost.
The point is that the memories may have faded, but the remembrance of these songs and movies stuck with me until I could create new memories.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Well, it all started with a trip to Walden Pond. Photo courtesy of Whitney Cutler...who also let me chill with her and her hub for 3 days. HOLLER girl...
Followed by a trip around Boston. From Fenway Park to the Freedom Trail....I decided that I am moving to Boston. Enough said. Some of my faves include:
- Finding Fenway
- Touring the Freedom trail with Whitney, making sure we didn't get off the brick path
- Finding glucose-free meals in the North End
- Eating pastries...yum
- Going to church in an old Episcopal church building
- Meeting friend Nicole for the best hot cocoa I have ever had. It was seriously like drinking Giradelli's straight
- Eating out with Nicole, Josh and Whitney and having incredible Salmon
- Walden Pond
- Touring Isabella Stewart Gardner's Museum..it was amazing
- Touring the Modern Arts Museum seeing Monet, Picasso, Rodin, Turner...incredible paintings and sculptures
- Seeing the places where our forefathers did remarkable things!
- Loving how accessible things were...the T rules!
- Studying and getting info at the Harvard Law School library
- Realizing all of Cambridge comes out for their community festival
After the trip to B-town, I headed straight down south to Havasupai Falls. The trip was short, sweet and pretty much incredible. I can't believe I lived in Arizona for so long without having visited it. Some of the highlights include:
- Sleeping in the car, having dreams about rolling off the cliff
- The hike down was beautiful
- Hiking 10 miles in to camp
- Seeing the falls for the first time and how blue everything was!
- Meeting people who lived on the reservation and joking with them about the fact that we were not going to make it out on time before the coyotes ate us for dinner
- Our campsite was off the main trail and on an island. We had the sweetest campsite in the whole place.
- Non-smelly restrooms
- Moody Falls, and the descent!
- Ivy surroundings
- Making it to Beaver Falls even though it was bush wacking the whole way
- Meeting people along the trail and giving them tips
- Realizing that we forgot our flashlights and we started hiking out at 4:30 p.m. and would be hiking in the dark with no moon
- Hiking in the dark
- Hiking out with one flashlight per 4 people...thank you Eric for holding it the whole way
- Crashing at a hotel in Kingman, thank you to the man who let us go in the hot tub even though it was closed
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Starbucks has come out with an instant coffee.
Just put it in a cup, add hot water, and then call out your name incorrectly.
Archaeologists in Ethiopia have discovered a 4.4-million-year-old skeleton believed to be the earliest known human ancestor and they're calling her "Ardi."
However, Larry King is insisting her name was "Jan."
There's a shortage of ammunition, so
Because if you want to tick off ANY customer, make it the guy who buys bullets. is limiting the number of bullets they'll sell to a single customer...
- Conan O'Brien
The average woman can keep a secret for 47 hours.
The average man can pretend to be interested in the secret for an average of 30 seconds.
Doctors are trying to decide whether being fat should be classified as a medical disease.
I think it should be. So next time your wife says, "Do these jeans make me look fat?" you can go, "Honey, I am not a doctor."
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Don't you hate when you turn in a paper and then the teacher explains in class what the paper was supposed to be about and you realize that your paper didn't reflect an ounce of what was discussed? Yeah, me too...totally don't dig that my cockiness took a jab in a major way. That'll teach me!!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Maybe some of you know this already, but for someone *echem* me, that just barely started cooking fish at home, I had a revelation this week.
Salmon skin is stinky. You read it...STINKY!! I mean, fish is in and of itself stinky, but seriously...seriously, salmon skin reeks. My first 'cooking salmon whilst in the comforts of my own home' experience was fantastic. It was only but a year ago that I decided to try this out for myself.
It was if it were yesterday. I remember purchasing my first 4 pound salmon at Costco. I remember thinking, wow...this is the brightest color pink I have ever seen. After unpacking all my groceries, I proceeded to divide this massive fish into little portions. I saved one for myself to cook and put the rest in the freezer.
After putting all of my very exotic spices, followed by slices of lemon and a little dill weed on top, I cooked it in my oven for 20 minutes on 350 degrees. The first taste was priceless. I remember becoming the biggest fan of cooking my own salmon.
One thing I forgot to mention is the absolute BEAUTY of Costco salmon: they package it sans (that means without) skin. Oh, and how wonderful it really is! Well, one day I didn't have time to go to Costco to pick out a 4 pound salmon, so I went to my lovely neighborhood grocer, Harmons, the next best thing...and HAZAA, their salmon was listed at 1/2 price because they had a really large shipment and needed to sell all that wonderful fishy goodness. So, I bought it with full intention of plowing right through my 3 pieces within the week.
I noticed the skin and kept it on while cooking, thinking it might keep the juices in even more than the tinfoil I usually wrap it with. I cooked it...and ALAS, HARK, OMGoodness, my house stunk for days. I remember the last time I had skin on my salmon...I remember being at my Grandma's and she cooked it on her outdoor grill...an OUTDOOR grill. Makes sense now.
I have since dreaded finishing up my other two pieces of salmon. There they sat in my freezer, only really 'fresh' for two more days. I broke down tonight and just had to try this again. I cut the skin off the back of the salmon and sealed the skins tight in a Ziploc, which I threw into the trash can (I believe at this point I was grimacing) - but you all know my experience with those. Hoping and praying that my house wouldn't stink, I took extra precautions opening the door to the balcony and igniting my Scentsy. I crossed my fingers as I stuck my fish in the oven.
20 minutes later....I couldn't believe it...sans skins was TOTALLY the way to go.
Stinky Fish: 0
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Last year I was able to go to Salem, Oregon with Rachel from Signing Time...which was incredible. I loved the scenery, the people, how green it was, the hotel I stayed in...everything. It was as if we couldn't get enough, because we ended up going to Oregon again this past weekend...right were Goonies was filmed. My favorite part about the experience was driving up over a hill on the way from Portland and having this singing "AAHH" moment (very Monty Python and the Holy Grail), when we came upon Haystack, this amazing rock edifice that sticks up out of the ocean right next to the beach. It was incredible.
I was blown away by the fact that I could be hiking in the forest and then all of a sudden be at the beach. There was this brilliant green moss everywhere, on rocks and trees, something Rachel and I labeled 'fuzzy trees.' The sand on the beach was so fine that when I walked on it, it squeaked beneath my feet. I could have stayed and played on the beach forever, but we wanted to see what else was out there. Here are some highlights:
- Eating the best steak EVER at Pirates Cove, this restaurant that looked over a bay area right before Tillamook. It was also my second time ever eating crab legs...of which I love. It was hard to get going on those little suckers, but once I got the hang of it...I was breaking those shells like a local. I rate the restaurant five stars.
- Exploring Nehalem. Rachel performed at Nehalem Elementary. But before we went over, we explored this little cute city. There were four boutiques that made up their downtown area that all had flowers on their windowsills and all looked like mini-beach-cabins. It was very cutesy.
- Eating at Wanda's. We were honored to go to Wanda's, Nehalem's mom and pop eatery. The restaurant is only open in the morning and afternoon for breakfast and lunch...and was SO completely worth it. I was astonished by the amount of food came with each plate...and by the presentation. They mixed flavors so well. I was so impressed. I rate this restaurant five stars!
- Buddy Walk at Seaside. Seaside is this gorgeous town situated where the main street ends at the ocean. The Buddy Walk mania was held on this cute deck next to a canal that ran through the city. We had such a blast getting to know everyone that showed up and loved the location. After the walk, a bunch of us had a ramming send-off party, where we rammed into each other on the bumper boats that were next to the dock.
- Tillamook Cheese. That's right, we grabbed some Tillamook cheese and ice cream...right where they make it. I ate a package of squeaky cheese for lunch...because it was so amazingly good that I couldn't stop eating it.
- Portland downtown. Loved it. I wish we had more time there because it looked amazing at night. We were able to eat at Hiroshi's a sushi place in town. There were a couple odd dishes, but for what it is worth, their scallops were incredible. The 'fish' taste was completely gone (a major plus), and they tasted like artichoke hearts wrapped in this cheese sauce. MMM. The sushi was very fresh, but I ended up getting a roll with tons of onions and scallions (of which I hate) and it was disgusting. If you like those things in your sushi, you may love it. But I didn't. Let's just say, when they were on, they were on...but when they were off, they were WAY off. I would rate this restaurant four stars.
- Wearing our swimsuits. Rachel being from Cali, and me absolutely loving to swim, were determined to wear our swim suits on the beach and take a dip in the ocean. Well, as beautiful as it looked, the cold got the best of us. But we wore our swim suits anyway and dipped our feet in the ocean.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
First, I have to give credit to the Triathlon committee for still accommodating the swimmers. Thank you. For having less than 24 hours to figure out a way to still doing the swimming portion, I thought the execution of this portion was well done. Perhaps another testament that I prefer walking...the tri was AMAZING-10 minutes after I was done.
Here are a couple of thoughts I have for fellow athletes:
Thought 1: In any sport warm-ups are important. Whether a person is running, swimming or biking, it is best to start out by warming the body up. If you enter a race without warming up, your chances of injury are lessened by at least 80%. It was nice that we had the chance to swim, but waiting an hour in the cold morning air in our suits is not recommended. For all other athletes...this is also important. My teammates TOTALLY ROCKED it because they warmed up. Seriously, stellar performances by my fellow "Fighting Oranges" Dan and Britt Burton (my cousins in crime)...way to warm up!
Thought 2: If you are more a swimmer than a runner (present company included), instead of slaughtering competition in the water, jumping out, immediately getting clothes on to begin the run...perhaps take your time to catch your breath before beginning the run. If it means that you are still warming up by walking...that is OK. This reduces the risk of lung damage or asthma attacks that may ensue due to the fact that you did not catch your breath following the swim. This is for sprint cases only. If you are doing Olympic swim, it is healthy to get yourself into a breathing pattern, while still executing a fast pace.
Thought 3: It is OK to walk if you are not a runner....even if it is only 1 mile. (This thought was here just to make me feel better about my performance, although I did run the last 1/4 mile).
Thought 4: Going to the bathroom whenever you don't feel like it is key. Even if it means peeing 4 times before a race, it is better than having to go in the middle of the race. Just like your parents used to make you go to the bathroom at every rest stop while you were traveling, even if you didn't have to go...this technique is actually extremely recommended right before a race.
Thought 5: Enjoy the event even if expectations don't match up with reality. After I remembered who I was..what's my name (following my run), I was able to hang with my buds (shout-out Gena-amazing triathlete on leave, Amanda and Pete-cousin and stupendous Olympic triathlete) who attended the race. I enjoyed the rest of the day supporting other runners/bikers/swimmers who have incredible stories of overcoming trials in order to compete. Whether it is battling cancer, overcoming fear of running ;), post-baby goals, or just reaching a specific goal, I had so much respect for the people that competed with me in the triathlon. Sure, I had the easy part...but it was so amazing to watch people as they crossed the finish line. A certain triumph and pride filled the air. What a desirous and infectious attitude.
Worth it...you betchya.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Let's talk about policy and implementation for a minute. You would think that maybe, just maybe the state would have thought to themselves several months ago when this shindig was being planned that they should check the water...oh I don't know....3 or 4 MONTHS PRIOR to the race.
Well, after having read the information above so that I could make CRUDE comments about the implementation of this investigation, it seems that the state has covered their bases. The incidents of bacteria roundworm being found were reported on the 15th, so I can't blame the Health Department for being slow in their investigation since they just barely got wind of the incidents. Nor can I blame them for beginning the investigation 3 days prior to the race, they have just cause and are following the rules of any reasonable government agency. They are insuring my safety so I don't die from this mysterious roundworm dude. So, I can't blame anyone. Dangit.
Lindsey says: Welp.... I guess I will run it.
Bobby says: Boo.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Well, anywho....my friend asked me to fill in for her during the swimming portion of triathlon coming up on Saturday. I was super excited at the time, not realizing I needed to train before I actually got in the cold lake at 7 in the morning. So, with two weeks before the race, I started training. While training, I couldn't help but have this dreaded question...how many meters are in a mile? Having been a swimmer since I was 3 years old, I always calculated my distance in meters of a pool. I never thought about 'laps.' What is a lap anyway? Is it 50 meters, or 25? I thought it was 50 meters...and Olympic-size pool. Ah, well...another mystery I am sure I will solve once I google it. Last night while swimming I asked two fellow swimmers who told me that it was like 5,000 meters. DEATH! Can I do this? I know I can, and I will...how is that for a power statement.
The point of this story besides google being the best resource to answer such questions, is...if a friend asks you to fill in on a race two weeks before the race, do it....but don't be attached to a certain outcome! Listen to your Bobby, don't over do it...have fun! That is my advice. Wish me luck!
Oh, and the answer to the question is: There are 1,609.344 meters in a mile (1 mile = 1,609.344 meters)...THANK YOU WikiAnswer.com. That answer is SO much better than 5,000 meters.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Mambo Italiano (Whitefish Montana): 5 stars
When I walked into the building, I couldn’t help but breathe in the aroma of fresh parmesan cheese and tomato sauce. From the entrance, I could see the chefs working hard making pizza dough and creating dinner masterpieces. As most of you know, I love all things food! Since I love food so much, I realized that I have this internal rating system for each restaurant I go to. I also have friends in the food industry who are constantly looking for things in restaurants they like and that they feel caters to the overall ambiance of a good restaurant. So, when I go to restaurants, I rate it based on scrumptiousness, food presentation, service, restaurant set up and bathroom cleanliness/creativity. (My dad once told me that when we were looking for houses, the first thing I would look at was the bathroom, followed by the kitchen). The food was amazing. I had a dish that had chicken, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, the works…all smothered with a lemon-garlic sauce. Insatiable. For dessert, they brought out this upright fry-holder looking tube and filled it with fried dough that they then covered with powdered sugar and included chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces. They gave us sticks, similar to fondue, where we poked our doughnuts and dipped them in the sauce. AMAZING. Now you have to go.
Desert Star Theater: Snooty and the Beast: 3 1/2 stars
A night of laughs and thrills, I was able to attend this spoof production. I was on the front row and was able to see some pretty remarkable things. Completely outlandish as expected, there were several surprises like when you know they have messed up…sometimes they do it on purpose, but there were some moments they didn’t. There was one point where an actor let slime drip from her mouth as part of lispy Goldilocks, which was just disgusting, but incredibly hilarious. I don’t know why I seriously died and fell off my chair it was so gross….and the next lines out of one of the actors mouth was “Um…I hardly know what to say. That was truly disgusting.” Of course, as audience participation, they asked who was on a first date…my date raised his hand. I covered my face…because you know what they do to you when you raise your hand? They pick on you…the rest of the night. My date happens to live in Oklahoma. Many of you may or may not know the BYU v. Oklahoma game that happened a week or so ago and how the Y killed them. Well, my date (a huge Y fan) was reamed from being from there. My date just went with it…good sport. Well, seeing that we were being picked on, the host tried to get us to kiss on the first date. Hmmm. Well, he planted one on my cheek…but the host said, “Well, I am not surprised….seems like Oklahoma has a hard time scoring in any situation.” It was a riot!
Star India: 3 stars
I didn’t have very many expectations for the restaurant. I knew it used to be located a couple blocks from my old office and wondered if the curtains hanging on the inside smelled terribly. The restaurant was huge. It had a side area with a mega screen where sometimes they play Bollywood movies throughout the dining experience. It was lunch and part of the Din-o-Round going on in Salt Lake where certain menu items are discounted. To be perfectly honest, the food was tasty, but a little cold. I thoroughly enjoyed their rice pudding and look forward to having it again. Although, I have to say that I am still a huge fan of Bombay House.
Julie and Julia: Four stars
A huge fan of cooking and food myself, I absolutely loved this movie. Having grown up in a different generation, I did not really know anything about Julia Child. I thought the way they produced the story, jumping back from one woman’s story to the other, was brilliant. I loved that it showed the hard times they were going through and how each was able to overcome them based on a passion and love for their families and cooking. I highly recommend this movie. I laughed, I cried, I sweat….all the emotions packed into one. Do it!
500 Days of Summer: Five Stars
AMAZING. If you aren’t into the artsy-fartsy, don’t see it, you won’t like it. I loved this movie for its cinematography, incorporation of art into the film, its ingenious splices of classic comedy, and its storyline. If you are looking for a classic chick-flick, don’t see it. This movie is not the cliché movie that everyone thinks. It is reality versus expectation. If you married people need to be reminded of what it was like to want so badly to be in a meaningful relationship with someone and the heartache associated with having disappointed hopes….that is what you will get from this movie. Highly recommended. Incredible artistry. Incredible acting (I have a crush on Zooey). If you just broke up with someone, don’t go. Although, maybe do go, it might put you into a space of healing.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Give it a listen....you will know what I mean. NPR is just going to have to wait until people stop making great music.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Remember the movie, What Women Want? Knowing what other people think...what an interesting concept. Don't get me wrong, half of the mystery and intrigue of dating is not knowing what the other person is thinking, right? That is what makes it fun, challenging and adventurous. And I certainly realize that as a couple grows together, they learn and develop a communication that works for them. Ah...communication. Remember how our youth are learning how to communicate via text...that is a whole other issue. What I am talking about right now is communication for the here and now. I am talking about the absolute elimination of the DTR (define the relationship).
Often in a relationship with a boy ;) I get overanxious and nervous at the get-go wondering...how slow do I take it, I want them to know I am interested in them, but if I give away the farm...the mystery and intrigue is gone and they don't want a part in it, even if they say they don't like the 'game' they are lying because boys like the chase...tis the way of man, so he chases me, but how far and how long? do you like me check yes, no, maybe....all that jazz. (Wow, now you people have seen into my mind...a very scary place to be)!
So, to make the transition of dating easier for us people and instead of communicating, because obviously people don't like that as much as they say they do, I thought I would create a web page call the "On the Same Page" page. Instead of having a DTR (define the relationship), people could just belong to this site that gives them several options of 'where they are' in a relationship. It would have various check-box items that any couple can use to communicate which page they are on. This avoids the whole 'learning how to communicate about the relationship before I realize I want a relationship' phase. These check boxes would include some of the following ideas/status-indicators:
1. Just want to get some action
2. Looking for someone to have a good time with
3. Want commitment, but not until I date you for 3 months
4. Can meet family whenever, cause it doesn't create pressure
5. Don't want to meet family until we are engaged
6. Don't want you to chip in for dinners, I want to take care of it
7. Don't want to be invited to your shindigs until after we are boyfriend and girlfriend as to avoid the awkward 'how long have you been dating?' question
8. Looking for a girlfriend who will commit and not ask questions like 'where are we going' every two weeks
9. Looking for a marital companion, but not to be married until I say so
10. Looking to get married, but do not want to rush a good thing
You know, it would be just SO much easier this way. But in the words of Ryan Reynolds in the new movie The Proposal, "Yes that would be easier." If you haven't seen the movie, you will not get what I am saying. In the meantime, I found a great song, (kudos to Thad Hall for showing me that I am not the only one that needs to be on the same page), I'd Really Love to See You, by the one and only England Dan and John Ford Coley.
Yeah, it's been a while
Not much, how about you
I'm not sure why I called
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you
And I was thinkin' maybe later on
We could get together for a while
It's been such a long time
And I really do miss your smile
I'm not talking about movin' in
And I don't want to
But there's a warm blowin' the stars around
And I'd really love to see you tonight
We could go walkin' through a windy park
Take a drive along the beach
Or and watch TV
You see it really doesn't matter much to me
I'm not talking about movin' in
And I don't want to change your life
But there's a warm wind blowin' the stars around
And I'd really love to see you tonight
I won't ask for promises
So you don't have to lie
We've both played that game before
Say I love you then say goodbye
I'm not talking about movin' in
And I don't want to change your life
But there's a warm wind blowin' the stars around
And I'd really love to see you tonight
I'm not talking about movin' in
And I don't want to change your life
But there's a warm wind blowin' the stars around
And I'd really love to see you tonight