Friday, June 20, 2008

Something's gotta give...

Something happened to me this week. Tension built to an all-time high, and I realized that something had to change.

I had hoped that my very happy birthday was an omen of things to come for this year. Unfortunately, at this point, the first three months of my 24th year have been dismal. I always imagined this time as some of the golden years of my 20's. When I was a child, some people that I looked up to had amazing 24th years, and I thought that was how it's supposed to be.

I realize that some of you are now asking yourselves, "Wasn't she just in Hawaii last week?" Yes. But unfortunately as I have learned repeatedly, a very nice vacation does not a-happy-person-make.

This became especially clear on Monday, when I had a breakdown of sorts. The experience had one silver lining: it was a red flag. I realized that something is seriously wrong, here.

On Tuesday I made a resolution. It's a week of resolution, really. For one week, I'm not eating sugar or wheat, and I'm not watching TV or playing computer games, and I'm trying to run every evening. (For those of you perfectionists, I'm not going to be anal and not use salad dressing because it has a little sugar. I'm talking about cutting out candy and sugary drinks and wheat buns and pasta. If a little bit of cranberry dressing helps me to choke down a salad, it's okay in my book).

I'm on day 4 at the moment. I haven't given in on anything yet. I realized this morning that I also haven't had meat since before Tuesday. It's not on my banned list, but for some reason it's not appealing. I've also been going to bed progressively earlier.

I've lost 3 pounds as of this morning, and I'm not sure that it's water weight because I've been drinking more than I did before, carrying a 24 oz bottle with me everywhere throughout the day (they say when you lose weight that quickly that it can't be anything but water, which I'm willing to understand, but I have been drinking more than I did before). I was also able to run farther last night than I was on my first day, and my breathing came easier (though it's still not to a good healthy point).

I run at dusk, which is my favorite time of day in the summer. It's also the only time I can go with my work schedule (about 9:30 or 9:45). It's cool outside but still quite light. My sister has come with me the last two nights, which makes it even more enjoyable.

A lot of people have sounded amazed when I tell them about this. I think they may see me as this got-it-all-together kind of girl who takes charge and takes care of herself. Please realize, I have spent months and months sitting in a lethargic lump on my couch thinking, "I could be out there right now. My shoes are right over there. Why don't I just get up?" and instead I just go scoop peanut butter out of the jar or something. It had to take an emotional breakdown for me to change, and I'm only promising myself one week.

But I am learning a lot in this one week. And I hope at the least I'm forming really good habits. At the end of the week (next Tuesday for me), I'm going to re-assess, and see what things I really liked about this situation (such as talking to Michael in the evenings vs. watching tv). Also, if I lose more weight, that's going to tell me something.

While at the grocery store the other day, I overheard the cashier telling the customer ahead of me that she had lost 200 lbs. 200. When I got up to her I asked her how she did it, and she said, "I stopped eating everything white." So she stopped flour and sugar and even starchy stuff like white rice. I asked her how long it took her, and she said, "4 years."
It's a slow process. And I'm sure she had plateaus, too. But just meeting her in person made me feel like it's really possible. I'm not trying to lose 200. I would be wildly happy if I lost 50 lbs, but anything over 10 would please me very much.

So there you go. There are some of my goals this week. Wish me luck.

Here's the weight breakdown so far:
Tuesday: xx4 lbs
Thursday: xx2.6 lbs
Friday: xx1.0 lbs

Monday, June 16, 2008

Maui, June 2008

I understand the tediousness of wading through someone else's vacation post.
But Kelsey told me to write her a nice long email with pictures, and I thought, "Well, one person is interested." So I'm posting this in case there is a 2nd person out there. I thought the most painless way would be to write a kind of agenda (with details) so here we go:

Tuesday June 3rd:
Fly to Hawaii
- Sit next to delightful chatty niece for the first couple of hours. Across the aisle sits my sister who has conveniently brought snacks in the form of cookies, cut-up fruit, candy, crackers, and other stuff I probably didn't see. I become as demanding as her kids after an hour or so, "I want some more cookies, big sister."
- After we land, get our bags, get our car, drive to the hotel, and unpack, we go out to eat with my sister and her husband and kids. We go to a yummy Mexican place that Michael ate at on our honeymoon (when I swear the restaurant was Italian or something). Over the next several days I begin to realize that on our honeymoon we must have eaten out a lot because just driving down the main street of Kihei I recognized having eaten at 90% of the restaurants.
- After dinner we return to the hotel for a leisurely swim in the hotel pool.

- In the morning I follow Erika & co. over to my Aunt Lynne's (aka my grandparent's) house to swim on the beach. Right after we get there Lynne talks to us in the living room for awhile, and we had a really nice conversation with her. Then I snorkel with my niece and we get dangerously close to the rocks, which was exciting.
Michael sits on the beach reading, which he does pretty much whenever I'm in the water for the rest of the trip, so I won't bother mentioning it again.
- We hang at house (except for a quick trip to the hotel to shower) before dinner that night. By now my two sisters, Jacque and Lauren have arrived and we all have dinner. Lynne has picked up some yummy Thai food and fried rice for us all.
- After dinner we are all sitting around when my Dad makes an announcement. He and Lynne have sold the house (the one we were sitting in) to the man next door (Pierre Lamond - is that how it's spelled?). We all realize that this is our last trip to the house. My grandparents bought the land in 1970 and built this house which they lived in for 30 years.
It was the first house on their beach, and they built it with a beautiful Japanese blue-tile roof which became a local landmark. A local told them their house was directly above a Maui legend, Po'olenalena, a dragon tricked onto the beach and turned into stone. They named their house Po'olenalena. This picture of my sisters and me was taken on the patio of their house that night at sunset.
- Later, Adam arrives late that night and we fill him in before going to bed.


- In the morning the whole family heads over to see Aunt Lynne's show, which is the main reason that we all came out to Hawaii. It was fantastic, and she gave us a personal tour.

- We all head back to the house to hang out. I go snorkeling with my sister Lauren off of my grandparent's beach. While we're out at the rocks, a sea turtle comes up for air right next to us. I keep my distance, but I see Lauren reach out and stroke his back.
I snap photos while having a heart attack. Above water, I tell her she's not supposed to touch the turtle, and she asks if I want to have a picture with it... so I say yes. I get some guts and reach out to touch him as he dives back toward the bottom, but I miss him by an inch. I'm not too disappointed until later that night when I develop an amazing photo of Lauren and the turtle.

- For dinner, we all go back to our hotel and have a big BBQ, mainly put on by Erika and her family. It was delicious, and the sun set as we all sat around and talked to each other. I develop my underwater photos and show everybody before going to bed.

- Lauren invited me to snorkel with her and Dad. They are going to "Turtle Town," a turtle-heavy snorkeling spot just south of Po'olenalena. Within mintues of going out, I am four feet away from a turtle who has come up for air. Unfortunately, we're with a huge touristy snorkeling group, and one of the men from that group tells me "You're awfully close ma'am!" and makes me get away from the turtle.

We swim away from him, and come across two turtles (6 ft apart). I give Lauren my new underwater camera, and I'm not sure about whether to approach him since I just got reprimanded. But Lauren says, "Well, are you going to touch him or not!?"

So I do. His shell was kind of rough and slimy at the same time. And very cool.

- Swimming back to shore, Lauren and I encounter hundreds of bright fish below us. Unfortunately I only got one photo in before I ran out of pictures.

- After lunch, Michael and I go shopping with Jacque and Lauren. We go to The Shops at Wailea.

- That night we go to dinner at Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, aka the Humuhumu. The restaurant is in this beautiful resort, The Grand Wailea. I had the Filet Mingon, and for dessert we got "Chocolate Indulgence" which really just seemed like a big sampler of several different kinds of decadent chocolate. We passed it around the whole table, and we couldn't finish it.

It's hard to see, but my brother is biting the head off of his totem chocolate figure atop his "Mud Pie."

- We plan to go to the Iao needle, but we all sleep in a little. We decide to have an early lunch at Lulu's, which is an open-air restaurant with a view of the ocean, that is supposed to have really good hamburgers. Right next-door is an open air market area that I've been wanting to go to, so we shop a little, too. We end up scrapping the Iao needle idea.

- I go with Jacque and Lauren to WalMart in Kahului for hot-dog roasting sticks.

- That afternoon Lynne has planned an activity for us to say goodbye to the house. We gathered flowers and various materials (soil, sand, pebbles) from around the house, wrapped them up in big leaves from one of the trees, and let them go in the ocean.

- We roasted hot dogs on the beach and had a yummy dinner. Most of us sat on the beach next to the fire while the sun set and then went up to the house for a little more conversation before going back to bed.

- Lauren was taking Adam and Jacque to Turtle Town, and Michael and I were supposed to go, but we ended up sleeping in and eating a lazy breakfast in our hotel room instead.
- We check out of our hotel and move our things over to Lynne's house.
- We pretty much hang out at the house all day with Adam, Lauren, Jacque, and Aunt Lynne. I probably spent some time on the beach. We have a chili dinner before Lauren and Jacque have to leave to catch their plane home.

- Michael and I go swimming in the morning on Po'olenalena beach. This is the second and last time that Michael swims with me.
- I make some videos of the house, so we can remember it later on.
- Adam and I buy a domain for and start to build it a bit.
- In the afternoong, Adam, Michael and me go to Lahina to walk around and get pandered to by the many shops there.

- For lunch, we go to a sushi bar at the Five Palms restaurant on one of the hotels in Kihei. We eat on the patio, and for about two minutes we were lightly sprinkled on by a passing storm. That was the only inclement weather we experienced the whole time we were there.

- On the way back, we went to Po'olenalena park, the next cove over (heading north) from my grandparent's beach. I've never been there before.
- For dinner Lynne takes Adam, Michael and me out to an Italian place where we have a yummy pizza. We sit on the terrace again. One of the things Michael and I loved about the island is that practically everything is open to the outside. Even carpeted hotel hallways have open-air ends. I didn't realize until this trip, but my grandparent's house isn't air-conditioned. It was built with all sorts of windows so that the air would flow smoothly through the house. Even on hot days, the house was really cool because of the breeze.

- I go for a swim alone in the morning. I don't realize that this is my last time in the water on Po'olenalena beach. I took my camera out into the water so I could take some photos of the house, but the sun was right behind the house and they didn't turn out very well. A cloud came by after I had put the camera on the beach and got back in the water. I didn't want to fight the surf again, but I should have so I could have gotten some better photos.
- That morning Lynne and I build a complicated box for an heirloom I'm taking home: a bonzai tree made with lapis lazuli (supposedly) petals/leaves. The tree is sort of disintegrating, and some of the petals fall off at a slight touch, so we build it carefully, with a foam cradle and everything.
- Michael and I drive back to Kahului so I can pick out the painting that I want to buy from Lynne. I'm crazy about her artwork. It was nice to get to see the show again on a more personal footing.
- We had some fast food for lunch and bought souvenirs and chocolates that we wanted to take home.
- We came home and tried to eke out the most of the rest of our time with the house. Michael and I take a walk on the beach that was one of my most pleasant experiences there.
- Lynne made us a steak dinner and we eat it on one of the patios overlooking the ocean while chatting about the house and the future.
- We say goodbye and drive to the airport. As we pull away I'm filled with an intense desire to just turn around and go back to look at it one last time, spend a few more minutes there, walk around it one more time. It's hard to keep going.

- The flight home I might elaborate on later, but in an effort to not complain very much, I'll leave it out for now.

If for some crazy reason you didn't get enough, you can see all near-500 of my photos here:


Saturday, June 7, 2008

I touched a sea turtle!

And my sister got a photo! The full story will come, because my time is limited at the moment.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Lauren tagged me, so I have to think of six random things about myself.
Here we go:

1. I can't use pencils. I will search for an hour for a pen before I will use pencil, and if I can't find one, I'll do anything I can to use a mechanical before I'll use a wooden pencil. If I am forced to use a wooden pencil, my lips will be curled around my teeth the entire time, because the sound makes my teeth hurt. It's the dry brittle graphite scratching across dry paper, it drives me insane.
Also: I am moments away from leaving a room as soon as someone starts to write on a chalkboard in chalk. It's the same problem. If you look at me in these moments, my lips will be curled around my teeth.

2. I love sci-fi. Star Wars, Star Trek, futuristic/apocalyptic movies, I love it all. I think the thing I like the most about sci-fi is seeing how society is portrayed working in and as a result of technology (or whatever chaos has befallen Earth). Gattaca, V for Vendetta, I am Legend, The Invasion, all hold me rapt with attention.

3. I play computer games.
I am a level 70 Tauren Druid in World of Warcraft, and I get excited when I get a new helm or piece of armor (not just for the fashion). My character is a shape-shifter, she can become a bear, a lion, a seal, a cheetah, a bird, and a giant owl-bear, which makes her pretty versatile. She can also cast spells. She enjoys long walks on the beach and moonspamming (for you fellow WoWers).
It's out: now you all know how dorky I am.

One of my favorite things she can do is called Hurricane. She can basically summon a lightning storm right over the heads of those creepy looking spiders.

4. I live in a basement apartment but I have a view of Utah lake from my windows.

5. If I had all the money I'd ever need, I would open up an art gallery that exclusively showed art from recent graduates of art programs, so that they could have a venue for showing (and selling) their work and getting noticed. I would love to travel to universities and scout for new artists. The first person I would show the work of is Rachel Mary Smith.

6. I am entirely too honest with people. I tell them about embarrassing/shameful things I've done with hardly any hesitation. I try to make sure that I'm still tactful, but if someone asks me a direct question about a sensitive subject, 90% of the time I tell them.


We're off tomorrow to Hawaii.

I haven't planned every day. I'm excited about that. I have a number of things in mind that I'd like to do, but I figure that we can wake up each day and think, "What do we want to do today?"

Here are some things I'd like to do:
Visit Lynne's show (first on the list) (see this link for more info on her)
Visit the Iao needle (but honestly, when you've seen it once, you've seen it a million times)
Shop in Lahina
Do an hour of the road to Hana (dare we go all the way?)
Visit the aquarium
Have sushi with Lauren and Adam
Trip up Haleakala
Lay on the beach

Yup, that sounds about right. Too much, you think?