Monday, January 25, 2010

My Favorite Things

Eucirne Cream on my face.... I know this sounds absolutely insane.... and as unpleasant it is to put something the consistency of shortening on my face, I can not believe the difference.

Lean Cuisines. Honestly I do not understand how they make the sauce in these frozen meals taste so good! The problem with Lean Cuisines is there is so little food that I am practically or literally licking the container when I am done. My new solution... pour the cooked meal over a bed of lettuce or cabbage. It adds much needed nutrients and the extra bulk makes me feel like I am eating a meal, not a small snack.

Polar Watch: Need an extra incentive to workout hard? Nothing beats looking at how many calories you are burning in a workout. It is quite depressing when I haven't burned as many calories as I want, so I run farther, spin faster, or hit up the elliptical after step class.... something I wouldn't do without the calorie count. (I completely recognize these watches are probably not accurate at all, but the way I look at it anything that makes me want to work out longer/harder... more power to it.)

24: No matter how unrealistic the challenge, I sleep well at night knowing that Jack Bauer has once again saved America. And this season I am especially excited about Zach Syler aka Freddie Prince Jr.

Italian Salad: I love Italian food... I love Italian climate.... I love Italian men. I really should just move to Italy. But my dilemma this weekend was I needed to take a salad to an Italian dinner. I think Caesar salads are so boring so I came up with this salad:

Romaine Lettuce
cubed fresh mozzarella
chopped basil
sun-dried tomatoes
freshly cracked pepper
dressing: roasted garlic infused olive oil.
Simple, loads of flavor, and absolutely delightful.

Bike Shoes: My favorite spin teacher kept saying to ask Santa for clip-in bikeshoes for Christmas... I can not believe the difference. I now almost like spin.... almost.

Heated Seats: Ya know, I think there luxurys out there that are absolutely ridiculous. Heated seats are definitely not one of them. Nothing makes me happier than feeling my seat warm up on a cold winter day.

Slow churned Peppermint Ice Cream. Words can not express the love I feel towards this tasty treat.

(500) Days of Summer: I know I already have a whole blog dedicated to this movie, but the story, the soundtrack, the style... I'm still completely infatuated. I have even started using "Tom" and "Summer" as adjectives to describe relationships.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ultimate Bike Ride

So while I was hanging out in possibly my favorite place in the world, Glendora,CA we were thinking of things to do. Although I love Southern California possibly more than anyone else... well beside Shane, there are two major flaws that keep it from being complete paradise. Number 1: It seems no matter where you go what you do, it costs money, and typically lots of money. Number 2: It doesn't matter where you go or what you do you can not avoid the traffic.

That was until Lars came up with the most ingenious idea possibly in the history of the world... well besides indoor plumbing, electricity, and possibly the internet. He said we should ride our bikes from his house to the beach. Now for those of you not familiar with the greater LA area here is a map of southern California. It is over 40 miles from Lars' house to the beach...
(The pink is our bike route)
Now many may say we are crazy for many reasons... it is a long ways... straight through some of the scariest areas of LA including Whittier (I had a boyfriend once from there and he loved to tell me all sorts of horror stories), not that far from Compton... and not to mention the fact that the farthest I have ever ridden was maybe 30 miles. So I'll be honest, I couldn't sleep, I was terrified. I had no idea what to expect.
Here is my picture pretending to be super tough.... really inside I was so scared!
Outside with our bikes.... yes did I mention we were riding beach cruisers??? My bike had a basket and a bell!
Where was actually met up with the bike trail. It was so cool, how many miles to the beach was printed on the trail every quarter of a mile. We started at 38.25 miles.
I wish I could describe in words how absolutely blissful and glorious this adventure was. I hope you can tell by the smile on my face! The temperature was PERFECT for the adventure. As I kept saying over and over throughout the entire California trip, even if I had a thermostat I would not have adjusted the temperature one degree! It was that perfect.
And honestly, there was nothing to be scared of! Here are some of the things that proved we were in a scary area.... a nice random shack...
An El Camino...
Too bad for the owner of this truck....
And this truck...
It was glorious... And don't know what else to say about it.

We had all sorts of great conversations all along the path. Poor Lars had to listen to my philosophy about government and education.(I swear he said he wanted to hear it!)

AND WE made it!!!!! The craziest thing was, as you can tell by the pictures, it really wasn't that hard! Sure, my tail bone was sore but it was great!

Cruisin' down the PCH, what more can you ask for?
And of course the best part, absolutely no guilt about burning over 1000 calories by the time we were done :)

The best way to explain how I felt about this trip is a quote about the meaning of life by my favorite historian/philosopher Will Durant. "The simplest meaning of life, then is joy - - the exhilaration of experience itself, of physical well-being; sheer satisfaction of muscle and sense, of palate and ear and eye. Even if life had no meaning except for its moments of beauty, that would be enough; this plodding through the rain, or fighting the wind, or tramping the snow under the sun, or watching the twilight turn into night, is reason a-plenty for loving life. Let death come; meanwhile I have seen the purple hills of South Dakota, and one point of a star taking its place quietly in the evening sky. Nature will destroy me, but she has a right to -- she made me, and burned my senses with a thousand delights; she gave me all that she will take away. How shall I ever thank her sufficiently for these five senses of mine -- these fingers and lips, these eyes and ears, this restless tongue and this gigantic nose?" (On the Meaning of Life pg. 104)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lessons Learned from Christmas Break

As I am sitting here in my bathrobe eating peppermint ice cream, (which I feel completely justified in doing because I didn’t eat any over Christmas break) listening to emo songs I am reflecting on my interaction with wonderful people over the holidays and the many lessons that I have learned. Whenever I think of ideas to write about on my blog they seem so magnificent, so inspiring, just like on A Christmas Story. I can imagine anyone who reads the post about whatever topic I am currently thinking about being so blown away with the brilliance of my post that they dance around a classroom writing A + over and over on the chalkboards...but when I actually sit down to write it, I always go blank… but tonight I am going to push through it.

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with a childhood of mine and he made the comment, “In reality all we are really doing is just waiting to die.” Now I had never really thought of life in such a way, but to a large extent he is right. Sure, it’s a pretty depressing way to look at life, but it is definitely true. If we so choose, We can just live every day of our life trying to get from here to death as painlessly as possible. This statement really got me thinking about our perspective of why we live. What is the purpose? What are we striving for? What are we waiting for? What should we be fighting for?

I spent a large portion of my break with one of the dearest people in my life. He told me how a mutual friend of ours,a guy of the Catholic faith asked him,“I have observed you guys (LDS) for over a month now and I am blown away. There is something that is so unique about you. What is it? What makes you guys so different?” The person very dear to me said, “One of the major difference with the LDS faith is our perspective on eternity. A person’s actions are so different when the perspective is switched from just a mortal life to an eternal life. I like to think of it as comparing the perspective of getting a flat tire on the way to the grocery store compared to getting a flat tire on the way to the airport to fly to Paris. When you get a flat tire on the way to the store it is no big deal. Possibly annoying, but not really a life shattering experience. You might try to fix it, you might not. You might find an alternate way to get what you needed or you might just go home. But if you get a flat tire on the way to the airport you are going to do everything humanly possible… you are going to fight like hell to get to that airport.”

I have been thinking a lot of the difference between these two perspectives. It is so easy to lose that reality in the moment. When a flat tire comes whether it be a trial or sin or both the difference between thinking you are headed towards the grocery store or Paris is life changing. Sheri Dew said, “When all is said and done, perhaps the most fundamental question we each answer is, Do we want to be a part of the kingdom of God – both here on earth and eternally – more than we want anything else?”

When we take a step back from that flat tire and remember where we are trying to get to it seems so silly to not get there over something as trivial as a flat tire.