Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some Kitchen Context for my Mother

Here are a couple of photos to give the Mickey post a little more context.

The full kitchen and bar area:

When you walk into our place, the door is in the middle of the room and if you look left you see the above image, and to the right is the living room. There are windows on each side of the door, and underneath each are the dining room nook (you can see my bike tire in the lower left hand corner--it is leaning up against the table); and to the right under the window is my office area.

Here you get a glimpse of the living room and the neat bookshelf that our landlords didn't want to part with, but also did not want to ship to Atlanta. It originally was under the living room window, but after Ben and I both almost had a meltdown trying to figure out how to keep it under the window and fit a desk in the new place, we decided it fit perfect under the bar, and we didn't have any barstools anyway.

Around the corner of the bar is the hall/bathroom/bedroom area. These are all the pics for now--at least until we hang some stuff on the walls....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Secret Addiction

Thinking Ben and I have a  problem: 

What's even sadder is that this was just from the pencil holder, and does not contain the numerous Sharpies scattered throughout the rest of the house. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Things Around the House

There are a few little things around our new house that I really enjoy. Not the place itself (although I am rather fond of the ice machine), but things that we brought with us. With the loss of my Christmas ornaments during the move, I realized that they were just "things," and what matters most is not the objects but the people around you that make the objects memorable (I won't lie though--I still miss my ornaments and hope that the person who found them really needed them...but I digress). So I'm not too attached to the "things," but since they were not accidentally left in the free box, I'm going to celebrate them, because they make me smile. Case in point: Mickey.

Now as most of you know, I am rather fond of Disneyland. Yes, the lines are long, and there are lots of kids, but if you go at the right time (during the week after Labor Day), you get to act like a kid yourself and run from ride to ride eating as much ice cream and churros as your little heart desires. I enjoy the uninhibited freedom that Disneyland invokes, and brings out the playful kid in all of us.

When Ben went with me to Disneyland for the first time I was a little nervous. Would he act like a kid himself, or laugh at how I skip from ride to ride? Although this is not entirely fair to him, I had predetermined that Disneyland was the deal breaker or maker. I needed to be with someone who could let loose, and as soon as he turned to me and giggled before our cart took off on Space Mountain, I knew I had a keeper.

After our long day of fast passing, Ben and I decided to buy our first souvenir together. We went through each shop and finally decided on some matching coffee mugs. Yet, when we bought them the sales receipt said at the bottom: "WARNING: PRODUCT CONTAINS LEAD PAINT THAT MAY CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS." The sales clerk told us that the state of California MADE THEM put that on the receipt, and he assured us they were fine (SIDE NOTE: thank you California for looking out for my health). Ben and I looked at each other, and back at the store and decided that we did not have the energy to find new souvenirs, and that we just wouldn't drink out of them until babies were born, and we couldn't harm our future kids with our "happiest place on earth" memorabilia. At the old place we hid them so none of our guests would accidentally be exposed to lead paint, but at the new diggs they are happily displayed on a top shelf (perfect placement by Margaret):

So when you come visit, please note that for your safety, you CANNOT drink out of them--cute as they may be.

The second time we went to Disneyland, we decided on something a little smaller, and that no one could get poisoned from:

I just love this little guy. He happily sits on the stove and watches over the kitchen. This was his spot at the old place, and he does such a good job looking out for the kitchen that he now has a permanent spot no matter where we live.

He shares the stove with my favorite green teapot Ben got me in San Francisco, the salt and pepper, and the adorable little vase that Blythe got me for Christmas that we hold oil in. You'll also notice the brown lump on the other side of the stove. It's a snake, although it kind of resembles a pile of poo. Mickey is not happy about it, and I am also not too thrilled, but that is where Ben wanted it. Since he tolerates the Mickey's all over and giggles on Space Mountain, this one he can have.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Danskin Completed!

Sunday was a very exciting and fulfilling day. To start off with...I FINISHED the triathlon! I know that is typically how the blogpost should end, and there were many ladies wearing pink shirts that had a quote from my favorite Runner's World writer Larry Bingham (aka The Penguin) that said something to the effect that the "great thing isn't that I finished, it's that I started," but to me, finishing was a big deal. 

AND a HUGE congratulations to Katie, Sara, Connie, Margaret and the rest of the Longview ladies, and the triathlon ass-kicker Becky. Everyone had a great race, but Becky decided for her first triathlon she would show the Danskin what's going on and finished 3rd in our age group, 27th overall (out of 5,000 women) and a ridiculous 2nd overall in the swim (1/2 mile in 11:02...damn!). I've decided we're going to start entering her professionally. WAY TO GO LADIES!!!

Here are a few pictures that I stole off Facebook (I illegally entered through Grace's account), so beware the site might crash again

Here is Becky and I super nervous waiting to get the show on the road:

This is the start of our swim. Class #26 red caps! I'm pretty sure Becky was around the first buoy by the time I was still waiting to start and peeing on everyone. (Yes, I am aware that is too much information, but it's true...I also peed when I exited the water and ran to my bike. I never knew I had a hidden super talent, but apparently it's peeing anywhere, even while running. Don't get too grossed out, I was completely covered in water, and urine is a disinfectant---WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION)...OKAY I get it....moving on...

What I learned from the swim is that next time I will wear a wetsuit. The water was a little choppy and right away I drank almost half of Lake Washington, which freaked me out more than I ever thought it would. So instead of pumping out the freestyle like I've been practicing for months and months, I did a lot of the backstroke, breaststroke, and anything that would keep my butt afloat (even floating on my back and just kicking). The water temp was great, but the buoyancy of a wetsuit gives you more freedom to use your energy to propel forward instead of trying to stay on top of the water. Overall, I am proud that I finished the swim in under 20 minutes, since that was my weakest leg going into the race, but next time I won't get so freaked out and/or hydrate myself in the lake.

The next leg was the biking portion....a 12 mile ride over I-90 on the Express Lanes, onto Mercer Island and then back again. I witnessed two crashes because some ladies could not downshift fast enough, but I managed to weave through the chaos (42 minutes and change).

Lastly came the 5K run. I'm not sure if you've ever rode a bike hard for a while and then tried to go running, but if you ever want to experience what some have labeled the "Kona shuffle"...give it a shot. You feel like your legs are going as fast as they can, but you're not sure they're actually moving. My goal of the running portion was to pump until I couldn't pump anymore. Becky captured two great photos of this at the finish line:

Me pumping to pass the lady in front of me....

and victory times two (passing her and finishing with a 8:53 pace!)....

The race was both amazing and interesting. When we finished I wasn't sure I would want to do one again. It was a strange concept for me to be racing when you have to change activities and try to keep going fast while you're unsuccessfully trying to pull a dry shirt over a soaking body. I literally got stuck and had to ask another racer to help pull my shirt down--not my finest part of the race. 

Yet now that two days have passed, I am experiencing the racing high and am very stoked, (and even proud) of myself for taking on this challenge, giving it everything I had, and finishing with a respectable time, fun memories, a great bonding experience with other ladies (especially my friends)....and a little piece of hardware:

So yes, I think I will take on this challenge again...and maybe lasso Becky's leg during the swim.

Last, but definitely not least...I owe a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported and cheered us all on, especially a few die hards who came out bright and early, and without their cheers I'm not sure I would have continued to push as hard. It's amazing what a few "Go Angs" can do when you're exhausted from getting out of the lake, pushing the pedals, or cranking out the last few miles. THANK YOU to all our well-wishers who were just waking up at the start of the race and sent lovely messages, and support throughout the whole training process!

To the fans who were present...THANK YOU....most especially ANNABELLE, and my swim coach KATIE, who got up early and biked to the race to cheer us on, but also provided doughnuts afterwards to a hungry athlete (thanks Annabelle!!!)...and to the two superfans who got up at 5:30 a.m. (one with only a few hours of sleep under his belt). 

Thank you SEAN and BEN! 

And a special double thank you to my support, my rock, and my devoted husband. You are amazing!

And as I started, I will finish...I DID IT!


Saturday, August 15, 2009


I'm all marked up and ready to go to bed, with visions of a triathlon dancing in  my head. At 7:58 a.m. tomorrow start thinking good encouraging thoughts for #3610....arghhh!!!

P.S. Notice anything in the background? As soon as I cross the finish line it's time to celebrate....ARGHH!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mr. Ben Knutsen-Phelps

Yesterday in swim class we did a time trial for the triathlon (1/2 mile swim). Now to me, swimming laps in a pool is like running on a treadmill. All I think about is wanting to stop, how much longer I have, and if I'm going to make it. After 100 yards, I seriously contemplated quitting and catching my breath (my quitter moment), but I pushed through the mental block and finished. As always in swim class, I finished last, but when I was done and she told me my time I felt like this: 

Then I joked with Ben all night that it was kind of like he was married to Michael Phelps...or more like his pinky toe. I stopped when Ben said it was creeping him out, even though I assured him Michael Phelps would probably be a fun partner to have around. The point is I was excited I high-fived the girl next to me. Granted I'm more like a turtle than Phelps, but to me it was a great accomplishment. Bring on Danskin. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

What Happens when I Log in:

After my post about Facebook I logged into Grace's account (with her permission) to see some of the pictures from the reunion and this happened: 

Facebook also experienced a failure, but it was not clear whether the disturbance was related to the attack on Twitter.

“Earlier this morning, Facebook encountered network issues related to an apparent distributed denial-of-service attack that resulted in degraded service for some users,” the company said in a statement. (New York Times)

I'm pretty sure it was because I logged in. Further evidence that I shouldn't be on Facebook. Ever.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

There are no technological advances that I can think of where I have actually felt peer-pressured to be apart of, except one. I have never felt like I needed a big screen tv (ours is 19" wide), any gaming systems since when Super Mario Bros. was at its height in popularity, and although we have Mac computers, it's because I like them, not because someone said it was what I had to have to be cool. I don't even feel pressure to have the IPhone...but there is one thing where I totally feel like a social misfit for not being apart of: Facebook.

It started this year during school, when a girl in my class asked if I was on it since she had tried to add me as a friend and couldn't find me. I politely said no, and immediately felt the backlash of scorn. 



"One time my classmates and I formed a group on Facebook, and you didn't know where the party was unless you were on Facebook."

Wow...All of a sudden I was the unpopular kid who wasn't invited to the party. Ouch.

Every now and then I think about it, especially when some of my diehard holdouts cross over (Booie), but then that fleeting thought passes and I go on with my life.

Then there was this weekend...the 1999 R. A. Long High School reunion. To start off with, I didn't even know about the reunion, because they contacted people through Facebook (once again...unpopular). Okay, fine. I still found out. Then at the reunion I was also repeatedly scorned for not joining. "HOW COULD YOU NOT BE ON FACEBOOK?" "HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE?" Directed to the person taking pictures: Me: Where will the pictures be posted?...Him: "Ummm, it's called Facebook." AHHH!!! 

Okay for do I communicate with people? I call them. I email them. I send them letters. I hangout with them in person. Secondly...

When did friendships become one stop shopping? I'm sure it's easier to see what people are doing, but at what cost? Do we lose a sense of personal connection when instead of calling our friends to see what they did last night, we can just go online? 

By the next morning (8 hours later), some of my high school friends had already received friend requests...which means...people went home after the party (2 a.m.ish) and posted pics and added new friends. Did I feel left out? No. Especially when those on Facebook said they were going to have to untag themselves from pictures. (Will I sneak into Gracie's account and look at the pics...probably, but just for the pics, not to snoop.)

I have other reasons for not joining. The two biggest being that I think I would secretly like it and devote too much time that could be put towards school, and secondly, I don't want to be tagged to a photo that a future student might see. And the last reason now, is that if I cross over, I will officially not only be unpopular, but a hypocrite. So to Facebook or not to Facebook? It is one's own choice, but I do ask...or rather plead....please do not make people feel bad for not participating. We are not lepers...we do have friends...we have our reasons...and we never ask in all caps: WHY DO YOU FACEBOOK?