"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Camping at Hocking Hills

I spent the last five days or so camping at Hocking Hills State Park/Forest with two people who are very important to me. Unfortunately, I am sitting in an internet cafe that is going to close soon, so I dont have much time for lengthy description.I'll give you the highlights...
1 hour horseback riding in the forest with rambunctious horses
1 ten day old horse that walked right up and let us pet it
1 sloppy apple eaten out of my hand by a horse named Maggie (Measle)

2 beautiful hikes down to old man's cave
1 crazy buzzing insect chasing us
100's of great conversations
3 camp fires
1 bag of shmellows
6 smores
3 nights of card playing and yahtzee
1 hungry deer who let us walk within 10 feet of it
1 pesky raccoon that needed chasing away
10 year old who learned to play rummy and to shuffle using the bridge
1 drink of pop squirted out of the mouth through outrageous laughter
1 night falling asleep under the stars while counting meteors (amazing)
1 hour of playing keepaway in the pool with the golden orb of atlantis (did i miss any adjectives?)
1 major back smack while falling into the river from a tree
7 miles down the hocking river in a canoe
3 rope swings
1 tipped canoe and some stinky mud
1 really interesting late night shower
3 people with sore (ab) muscles from rowing, swimming, and carrying on
10 ziplines through the Hocking Hills trees
3 sunny days
1 rainy day and some thunder
1000's of smiles and lots of laughs
10 or so pictures taken at arm length
1 broken lantern (not ours)
2 really great views of the milky way and many conversations about celestial objects
1 spectacular radio station
It all adds up to a totally plazitory 4 days.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Short Update

On Monday, we spent the day at Nickelplate Beach on Lake Erie. It wasnt very warm because of the constant breeze coming off the water, but the sun was shining pretty strong and I ended up with a nice boost to my Vegas tan.
We all had fun. Avery got himself stuck in a big hole that he dug in the sand. It was pretty funny.
The kids enjoyed playing in the waves. We spent most of the day there and by the time we got back to the house, we were pretty beat. Fun, fun!
Yesterday, I spent the day at the Toledo Zoo with two of my favorite people. Later in the evening, we played a pretty heated game of Yatzee and relaxed outside under the stars. Again, we had a really great time.
Other than that I really havent been doing much except hanging around the house. Today, I did some yard work, trying to catch up with all the weeds and unruly bushes that have grown in the last year. I've been reading alot and just lazying around. It has rained a few times in the last few days and I've enjoyed listening to the rain and even walking around outside in it. I wish we would have a thunderstorm...I always miss those when I'm in Alaska.

I dont have internet at the house and have to come downtown to the coffee shop to get online, that's why I havent been writing much. Edije, I got your request for pictures, so here they are....when you comment on the blog make sure you tell me who you are so that I know who's commenting.

It's funny to think that it will only be a little over a week before I'm back in Alaska. How can time go so fast?

Monday, July 20, 2009

My weekend in pictures...

Friday, we went to the Japanese Hibachi Steak House for dinner and then sat around the fire hanging out for the rest of the night. Saturday, we attended Nathans birthday party all day.

Then, we went to go see the new HP movie. It was good and I'm glad Avery and I got to see it together since we read all the books together.Sunday, we spent ALL DAY at Cedar Point riding the most awesome roller coasters on the planet!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's all good!

I picked up Avery yesterday, so he is safe and sound with me again. We headed up to see our friends who live in the Sandusky area last night. This way Avery can relax and not have to stress about anything. We're going to head to Cedar Point tomorrow and probably the Lake Erie beach on Monday. Last night, we sat around by the fire in the back yard and caught up with our good friends, the Zeigler's. We told stories and jokes, we laughed and smiled, and had a great time. We got bit by mosquitos. All I know for sure is...the absolute worst place to get a mosquito bite is on your feet....it's sooooooo itchy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let's just say...

I'm back in Ohio.

And leave it at that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

5 more

On Saturday, I went to best buy and picked up the new workout video game and other accessories for my Wii balance board that I was talking about. I've worked out with the new game for two nights in a row now and today I can barely kneel down because my legs are so sore. It really gives you a workout! The cover for my balance board makes it so much more comfy on my feet and the 3 inch riser for the board gives my stair stepping workouts much more intensity. All of these things were a little pricey in my opinion, but all worth it...

I've lost another 5 pounds! Now I'm down a total of 15 pounds! Those last five pounds came off so suddenly that I thought maybe it was a fluke. I lost 5 pounds in essentially 1 day. But for the last two days now, my weight is consistently 5 pounds less. YAY! I'm now halfway toward my goal of losing 30. I started out this whole thing at a weight easily divisible by 5, so I've been keeping track of my weight loss in 5 pound intervals to keep it easy to keep track of. 5 pounds at a time.

Also, I went online yesterday and bought a couple of old school nintendo games for the Wii and the game Avery wanted...World of Goo. Then I started playing it and got hooked. I stayed up way too late playing the addictive game. I cant sleep at night anyway because my sleep schedule is all out of whack.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

10 pounds and 3 notches

I have officially lost 10 pounds since I got the Wii 34 days ago. Basically what that means is that I weigh the same now as I did 2 years ago when I first moved to Bethel(i know exactly what i weighed then because they weighed us when we rode those mules down the grand canyon two summers ago). Also what it means is that I gained 10 pounds while living in Alaska the last two years and I got rid of those 10 pounds in 34 days. It also means that I lost 2% of my body fat. AND in addition...I am wearing my belt THREE (count em'...3!) notches tighter than I was when I got here this summer. (I wonder if my friend, Edije, remembers that bet that we made last summer about the person whose belt was the most notches tighter this summer would buy the other a new outfit??? Did we shake on that???) In the graph above you see the red line was my starting point and the purple line is my progress.

I am so excited for myself! I have also noticed that my flexibility, balance, and endurance are all increasing. I also think I'm losing inches in other places besides my waist too. Although I havent measured, I sure do think my arms, thighs, and face all look just a little bit thinner. Yay me! Yay Wii! Did I mention that I think the inventors of the Wii are geniuses? I cant give all the credit to the Wii though...I have also been reducing my calorie intake to about 500-700 calories per day, I have stopped drinking pretty much anything except water, and I swim almost every morning.

I am really starting to feel like I have a chance at accomplishing Number 5 on my birthday list. My goal right now is that I would like to drop another 10 pounds by the end of August and the other ten pounds by Christmas for a total of 30 pounds before my 30th birthday. Wouldn't that be awesome? YES!

So, to reward myself for losing 10 pounds, 2% body fat, and 3 notches on my belt, I'm going to spurge and buy myself a $60 video game...EA active. It's like a personal trainer. It has great reviews and is better than the Wii fit game because it actually sets up a training program for you and then you do the whole workout. It also tracts your progress including inch measurements and heart rate. It even has a 30 day challenge that I think I will start once I get back to Bethel.
I am also going to pick up a couple of accessories for my Wii fit, including height increasers for the stepping activities and a gel cover for the balance board because my feet get sore when I stand on it for too long. I think I'll go tomorrow to get all my new stuff...I cant wait to try it all and keep shedding those pounds!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

In Vegas, umbrellas arent just for rain

In fact, they're really not for rain at all considering it never rains. Seriously...NEVER. Or basically never. Which is weird considering that when we were kids it used to rain so hard that it would flood and we would go swim in the streets.

Nowadays, umbrellas in Vegas are mostly a small respite from the scorching, intense sun and the sweltering, unrelenting heat that accompany it. Everyday that I drive around town, I see people walking down the sidewalks with umbrellas over their heads.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lone Mountain Sand

I went frisbee golfing the other day at a park that is all the way out on the far NW side of the city. The easiest way to get back to where I needed to be after I was finished was to hop on the new highway, the 215. To get to the frisbee golf course and then to the new highway, I drove for miles and miles through neighborhoods and parts on town that didnt exist when I was growing up. It was weird. It bogles my mind how big Vegas is now and how fast it has gotten that big. As I was passing Lone Mountain, I looked out and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to collect some Vegas sand. The patches of desert that are left in Las Vegas are few and far between these days and most of them are fenced in to deter the bums from making them home. This patch of desert was undisturbed and still had native plants and wildlife it it. So, I got out of the car and filled an old water bottle half way up with sand from the base of Lone Mountain.While I was out there, I also snapped a few pics of the city in the distance. In the picture above, you can see the strip and the mountains to the south were you would find communities such as Henderson and Green Valley (technically part of Henderson). Click on the pictures to make them larger. And in the bottom pic, you can see Sunrise mountain in the far distance on the East side of the city. My cousins house (where I'm living this summer) is right at the base of Sunrise, so that shows you how far from home I was. I have so far collected two sand samples for Number 22 on the Birthday List. The first one is a sample from the Kuskokwim river in Bethel. The second is from the base of Lone Mountain. I have plans to go and collect a sample from the base of Sunrise mountain soon. I also have plans to get a sample from the white sands in New Mexico, then I'll only need one more to complete Number 22.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Number 27: A really amazing fireworks show

For the 4th of July, I was determined to accomplish Number 27 on the birthday list. So I did some research to find out where in Vegas I could see a really amazing fireworks show. There were a seemingly unlimited number of options, but I settled on the City of Henderson's fireworks spectacular.

They were having concerts and a street fair in downtown Henderson during the day and setting off fireworks atop the city hall building at night. It was free to attend. The Henderson Symphony Orchestra performed during the fireworks.
They really did put on a great show. I was actually surprised at the quality and length of the show. Usually cities dont have a large enough budget to do a show this big, but they pulled it off.

We pretty much spent the whole day there. We walked around and ate fair food until our stomachs were content...thai food, fried chicken, funnel cake, cheesecake on a stick. Devin got to play with other kids and run around in the water fountains. We listened to the live bands and people watched. We petted the police horses and laid on a blanket on the grass. We enjoyed the pleasure of each others company.

Then...we watched the fireworks and oohhhed and aaahhhhed and screamed and yelled and laughed. The grand finale is below.

July 4th is also Niomi's moms birthday, so after the fireworks Niomi and her mom went out for a night on the town and I went home with Devin to let off some of our own legal fireworks in the parking lot of the apartment complex.

Monday, July 06, 2009

4th of July Fireworks

Here are some of the good pics I got of the 4th of July fireworks that I saw in Henderson, NV. Video and commentary to follow later.
The pic below isnt the greatest but I thought it was cool how it has that image in the middle. I looks like a hummingbird or a winged unicorn or something caught flying in the middle. cool!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Baseball in Vegas

Went out to a Las Vegas 51's baseball game on Friday night with my friend Niomi, her son Devin, and her mom Davette. We had a great time. We were there with Davette's church group, so we had seats in the picnic area down on the field.The team mascot is an alien named Cosmo. Kind of a goofy looking alien, if you ask me. But I suppose you cant make him look too much like an alien because he would scare the kids away.The stadium was surprisingly full for the game even though the tickets were more expensive than usual because it was 4th of July weekend and they were having special events and fireworks and such. And of course, the girl that sang the Star Spangled Banner was from Planet Holleywood's Peepshow Striptease. How tacky...how Vegas.
We spent some time jumping in the bouncy house with Devin. That was FUN!
After the game was over, they had someone sing some such patriotic song or another and then they showed a video clip about how they were trying to build a veterans memorial in Vegas. They are trying to raise money to build one. One of the veterans that they interviewed on the video said that Las Vegas is the epitome of the American freedoms that Veterans fight for and, therefore, should have a veterans memorial. As he said that, I couldnt help but think..."Freedoms like what? The freedom to gamble away all your money and end up living in the streets. The freedom to have a drive through wedding? The freedom to have random sex with sleazy prostitutes? The freedom to have slot machines at every single place that you go? The freedom to abuse drugs and alcohol? The freedom to live a life of sex, gambling, and substance abuse? Seriously? Maybe we should reconsider the freedoms that we hold valuable."
After the game, there were some pretty decent fireworks (not as good as the really amazing fireworks that I saw for the 4th of July...more on that later). Here are some of the better shots that I got of the pyrotechnic action. I think they turned out quite nice.
Firework photography is a hobby of mine that I started back in 2001 when I dated a guy who was a pyrotechnic.
For every good picture that I get, I get about 5 that are not as good. So to get these 7 good pics, you figure I took about 30 other not so good ones.
I love fireworks though, so even if I wasnt taking pictures of them, I would still LOVE watching the action.
The Las Vegas 51's are the Triple A affiliate team of the Toronto Blue Jays. When I was growing up, the were called the Las Vegas Stars and were owned by the Padres.
It was kind of weird going to a baseball game in Las Vegas. It is not something I associate with Las Vegas. I never went to any games when i was growing up here and it's not like you think, 'Let's go to Las Vegas and see a baseball game.' I felt like I was back in Ohio while I was walking around the stadium.
And here are a couple videos for your viewing pleasure.

The 51's lost the game, but we still had a great time.