Thursday, April 22, 2010

Swimming for Fun and Profit

Today is Thursday. I started "swimming every day" on Monday, so I've gone four days straight now. You may wonder why in the world I would do this (or maybe I just think that because several people have asked). Here are the reasons that I shouldn't do this:
  1. I'm really not a huge fan of swimming. It's tiresome and hard.
  2. I hate wearing a swimsuit (and who doesn't, really?).
  3. I hate how the chlorinated pool dries out the skin and does a number on the hair color.
  4. I haven't had to swim since I was twelve and that was under duress.
  5. I don't like to get up any earlier in the morning that absolutely necessary.
Even though it's counter-intuitive, I'm still taking on the challenge. In August, I'm going to participate in the Danskin Triathlon. The first leg of the race is a half mile swim in Lake Washington. The water will be cold, there will be no bottom of the pool, and I will be swimming with 100 of my closest friends splashing around me. This is more than a little intimidating to me.

Last week, I raised my concerns with my trainer. I'm worried that even though I've been swimming "regularly" that it's not enough to be ready for the half mile in August. My trainer is super supportive and very practical. He was a competitive swimmer in college and is very familiar with what it takes to do a half mile swim. He also knows my capabilities right now and he wants me to be confident when the big race comes. He knew I wouldn't savor the idea, but told me the best way to be ready would be to swim every day. It doesn't matter how long, how far, or anything else. Just be in the water every day.

So, this is why I am swimming every day:
  1. I want to be comfortable swimming with splashing around me and with someone in the same lane.
  2. I want to not think about my breathing because it's second nature.
  3. I want to feel strong and not ever have to touch the bottom of the pool.
  4. I want to be able to swim 18 laps without stopping, and have it feel easy.
  5. I want to avoid freaking out because I got water in my mouth or nose.
All of those things will happen if I'm in the pool every day. I'm still deciding if Sunday counts as a day. Even an "every day" swimmer may need a day of rest.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Music Monday -- She & Him

Thanks, Amazon, for introducing me to the duo She & Him. The group is made up of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. You may have seen Zooey in (500) Days of Summer or Bridge to Terabithia. She's also on Cisco and Cotton commercials, so I'm sure you've seen her around. I don't know anything about M. Ward other than apparently he met Zooey when they needed to record something for a movie they were both a part of.

I purchased Volume 2 and hope to enjoy it all summer. The music is a little retro, not folk or country but with a bit of a folk sound to Zooey's voice. The music itself is totally modern and fun and just the type of music you'd listen to in the car on a sunny day with the window rolled down.

The song below is "In the Sun" from their second album:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's About Time

It was just about two years ago that Annzy delivered the amazing Drunk Love quilt. Last week, I started the binding. It's the one task that Annzy left for me. The DH and I have had the quilt on our bed for these past two years without the binding being done, so it really is about time I did it. I'm at least a 20th of the way done. I'm sure I'll be done before the end of the year.

Update: I hung out with lovely women this evening and sewed the entire time. I'm about a quarter of the way done with the binding.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Had NO Idea!

Apparently there's a trend on this interweb thingy that includes Legos and music. I had NO idea such a thing existed until I read about it on Mashable. Who knew I could be so behind on such a trend? Well, I'm trying to catch up. And, because I'm such a giver, I'll help you catch up as well. First, by making sure you know about the trend, and second by letting you watch this very cool Lego ABBA music video.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Your Life is Awesome!

I just found this blog called 1000 Awesome Things and I think I love it. Reading the top 1000 awesome things made me think, laugh, maybe even cry a little. But mostly, it just reminded me that life is pretty awesome most of the time. And I don't mean that in the "totally rad and really awesome" overly stated kind of way. I mean that life inspires awe in me regularly. I'm in awe at how Ichiro can hit a tiny ball into the stands. I'm in awe of the generosity of a birth mother giving her child up for adoption so my friend can have the kids she desperately wants, but can't have on her own. I'm in awe of the sunrise that I saw this morning. I'm in awe of the love that I can feel for my husband that I didn't even know I had in me and has grown immensely since we married almost five years ago. I'm in awe of how smart the crazy raccoons in the city are.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Race for the Cure

My manager isn't at work this week. She started aggressive chemotherapy last Monday and isn't feeling up to it.

Three months ago, C had blood on her nipple and went to the doctor to have it checked out. Within six weeks, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and scheduled for surgery to remove the tissue and any lymph nodes that might be effected. After the surgery, they decided that the margins weren't large enough from the cancerous tissue, and she had more tissue removed.

After having an easy recovery from surgery, C was given the options for continued treatment. The oncology team recommended four treatments of chemotherapy at three-week intervals. They told her she'd be pretty sick for about three days following the treatment. Apparently this was the understatement of the century for C. After an easier that expected recovery from surgery, she had a worse than expected reaction to the chemotherapy.

While C is out, I've taken on some of her responsibilities. She divided everything between several people so it wouldn't be too difficult for any one person. I'm more than happy to do whatever I can to make it easier for her. She is married with two young daughters and I know this will be a hard Spring and Summer for all of them. The prognosis is good, but there will be several very hard months ahead with the treatment C is getting right now.

In June, the DH and I will run in the Race for the Cure for our 5th year. It has new meaning to me as I do what I can to support my manager in her fight. If you're interested in helping out, then please sponsor me by going to my Race for the Cure Fund Raising Page and make a donation. The other alternative would be to sign up and join me and the DH on June 6th as we run for a cure. It's only 5K (3.08 miles), so I know you could do it. Come on!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Utah Weekend

For Easter weekend, the DH and I headed out to Utah. We flew in Thursday evening and headed to the Marriott hotel. On Friday, we walked around temple square and then headed over to Hires to meet my good friend Shalene and enjoy a Big H. I love their burgers and enjoyed introducing the DH and Shalene to the goodness. Shalene drove down from Idaho Falls just for lunch with us. What a trooper! We had a wonderful time catching up and hearing about all that's been going on for the past few years. Then Shalene turned around and drove back to I.F. and the DH and I headed South to Provo. There, I took the DH on a mini tour of BYU campus. I showed him the dorms I lived in my Freshman and Sophomore years and then we walked around the Student Union building and out to main campus to see a few other buildings. The DH may have also found a new BYU sweatshirt along the way (but I refrained from buying the divine chocolate covered cinnamon bears).

After touring campus, we hooked up with Annzy and our good friends Darin and Liz at Pizzaria 712 in Orem. The pizzaria was very much like Delancy here in Seattle. The food was amazing, but the company was even better. We had a great time getting to know the newest addition to Darin and Liz's family, Thor. He's six months old and happy as the day is long. He was such a trouper, even when we could tell he was getting tired.

On Saturday, we lazed around for the morning, then met Annzy at Red Iquana for an early lunch. This is my favorite Mexican restaurant, and I've gone out of my way more than once to eat there. We had a wonderful lunch and then headed back to the hotel to change clothes and go to the afternoon session of LDS General Conference. The session was lovely and then we went back to the hotel. Things got interesting when Gage called to tell us that E had conked his head with a shovel and they were at the Doc in a Box seeing about stitches. E ended up being OK and Gage still made it down to SLC so he and the DH could go to the Priesthood session of conference at the conference center. In the mean time, Annzy and I got some Jamba and headed South to hang out with the rest of Gage's family in his absence. I swear, those boys E and M are a laugh riot. We had a great time hanging out and enjoyed their stories and antics. By the time the DH and Gage were back with dinner, it was 9:00, so we ate while the kids pretended to be going to sleep.

On Sunday, we drove down to Springville to hang out with my second family, the Conrad's. We had an amazing Easter brunch and of course had a wonderful time reconnecting. This was the DH's first time meeting the family and he was impressed with them. Good thing! It was sad to have to leave, but we had to fly home that night, so we left them all watching the afternoon session of conference and headed back to the airport.

I love visiting Salt Lake and only wish I had more time to connect with more friends. It looks like there will be a big mission reunion in July, so we may just have to plan another trip!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Music Monday -- Pomplamoose

I was going through my posts to see what I'd already featured on Music Monday and was horrified to realize that I have not share Pomplamouse with all my bloggerific friends. You all deserve to her Pomplamouse! Because I care.

Pomplamoose is made up of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. I love Nataly's voice, but it's the rhythms that get me with this duo. NPR did a story on them, because they don't have any record deals or promoters. They've really just become a YouTube sensation. I was able to buy a few songs on iTunes, but the selection was severely limited. To really enjoy them, I recommend their YouTube Channel. It's really fun.

They do a lot of covers and I was introduced to them by Annzy when she found their Single Ladies cover. It's the best rendition of that song that I've heard. Good stuff.

I also like this video for "If You Think You Need Some Lovin" that showcases Nataly's voice very nicely.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What fills us is real, sweet, dopey, funny life

I just read an essay in Sunset Magazine by Anne Lamott. I loved her book Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith and enjoy her take on becoming a writer. I'd recommend anything she writes, because she's honest and real and conveys her message in writing that is without peer.

In the essay, she talks about taking time to slow down for at least a half hour a day. It's advice that I need to take. I think I need to evaluate the kinds of commitments I make and determine which I should take out of my life.

When I was a missionary in Switzerland, I had a conversation with a woman about prayer. Apparently, she had read a study that indicated that people who practice prayer or meditation are generally more healthy in both body and mind. I liked the idea that science could get behind prayer. But it also made me wonder what science would find as the connection between prayer and wellness. In the end, I came up with my own hypothesis and I'm pretty sure that Anne would be on my side. When we slow down and ponder the things we are grateful for, the things we are in need of, and the many ways we are blessed, it seems only natural that we would in turn feel more peace in our lives. This slowing down, even if only for a short time during the day, brings more stillness to our minds, helping us break away from the frenzy that our lives can sometimes become.

Life is so full of real things that have nothing to do with Twitter, Facebook, or my work calendar and e-mail. It's time for me to turn it off at some point during the day and live in real life. Hopefully, for me, that also means more writing.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Music Monday -- Caitlin Crosby

The DH doesn't have the same taste in music that I do, but he's figured me out and can find music that I really like. Several weeks ago, he gave me a CD to play in the car. I put it in and instantly knew he had found another keeper. The album is Caitlin Crosby's Flawz. One thing I love about the album is that Crosby has several different styles on the album. The first song sounds like classic doo-wop, others have more of a pop feel, and some are a little edgier. There's not much edge here though. It's just good clean fun.

I really like the song Flawz. Watch the video below. The music starts about one minute in though.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Blast from the Past

And when I say "Blast for the Past," I mean loooooong past. Pictured is a pincushion made by my great-great-great-grandmother. It's an heirloom that I treasure.

Growing up, this pincushion hung on the wall behind my mom's sewing machine. It was always there, and had lots of pins in it. I loved taking it down and reading the back, where it says that it has been handed down to the oldest daughter for 6 generations.

Last week, my church had an event where they asked us to volunteer to bring treasured heirlooms for a display. They also wanted some history on the piece, so I did a tiny bit of research in the form of reading up on my ancestor from the book "The Trio's Pilgrimage."

The pincushion was hand-made by Maria Thomas Bywater. I learned that she joined the Mormon church with her family in Wales when she was eight years old. They traveled to Salt Lake, first by ship and then in a wagon train, walking almost the entire way from Keokuk, Iowa to Salt Lake, when she was 12 years old. I was simply amazed when I read about her. I can't even imagine what that journey of almost six months must have been like. I also read about her falling in love with her husband James and the difficulty she had in accepting a sister wife when he was asked to participate in polygamy. Her life was full of heartache, pain, and joy. I loved reading that she experienced great joy with her family and that she was a delight to be around for her entire life. She left a great legacy.

She made the pincushion after arriving in Utah. The pincushion was handed down to Maria's oldest daughter, who gave it to her oldest daughter, who gave it to her oldest daughter, who gave it to her oldest daughter, who gave it to her oldest daughter, who is me, the sixth oldest daughter in a direct line to own the pincushion.