Saturday, January 30, 2010

Have I ever mentioned I like trees?

I have always loved the trees that cast such a great shadow. When I was little I remember wishing we had a weeping willow tree in our backyard because I thought they were magical and beautiful all wrapped up into one.

Well this morning I studied and then proceeded to have a big bowl of chili for lunch. After a little more studying I dragged myself down to the track to do some interval training, fartleks, and get more miles for the Nike Challenge. As I made my laps around the track I could not help but notice how gorgeous the trees looked plastered against the blue and cloudy sky. After my run I took some pictures and thought I would share. Such a great day and I have gotten a lot accomplished so far.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today was good

So last night I was reading my email and got such great emails from friends and family about my blog yesterday. Thanks for the support guys! And here was the moon outside my house last night... picture not too great as it was from my phone.
Today I got a late start but perhaps that is because I slept for 8 good solid hours last night! Went to The Flying Goat to study and then back home for a delicious lunch of egg salad sandwich with whole grain mustard. (My favorite as a kid.)

Then off to the library to study where I picked up ALL of these books! Why must they all come at once? And I am already reading a book. I guess it is just a little more incentive to hurry up.
Top to bottom:

1. Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris (apparently he had a book I had not read!)
2. The Tetherballs of Bougainville by Mark Leyner
3. Diary of an Exercise Addict by Peach Friedman
4. Run Faster by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald
5. The Reason for God by Timothy Heller
6. Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer

Later I came home to study and cook chili for next week. It is now almost 4:30pm and I think I am calling it a day. It just starting raining/pouring so I am going to just sit here in silence and perhaps read... have a good weekend!

Pictures from this week

So I carry around my little camera with me everywhere, but somehow I ended up only using the camera on my phone to take pictures for the week. Enjoy!

My sisters playing Paper, Scissors, Rock to see who will pay for dinner.

Amelie the cat finally decided to lay on my legs as I would not let her lay on my keyboard.

The recipe my sister and I made out of her vegetarian cookbook for dinner one night. Pretty darn tasty.

Pics I snapped as I was driving the Grape Vine all within about 15 minutes of each other. Look at the snow!

And alas, studying. This was when I actually got my software and had everything installed and running. (And yes, I do take my water bottle with me everywhere.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friends help, not hinder

So I got the new issue of Fitness Magazine in the mail yesterday and as I was flipping through it I came across a few quotes I wanted to share.

“Frenemies? Fifty-one percent of women say their family and friends unintentionally sabotage their weight-loss effort.”

“Is your friend making you fat? How mush you eat depends on your dinner date: Women consume about 60 percent more food when dining with a thin girlfriend who has a large appetite, as opposed to eating with an overweight friend. “Seeing a thin person eat large amounts compels you to do the same; you think if she can eat that much and stay small, you can too,” says Brent McFerran, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing at the University of British Columbia in Canada. To dodge temptation, dine with health-conscious friends. “You’ll help one another make better food choices,” McFerran says. Or split an entrée and a dessert—hard to be influenced when your portion sizes are identical.

These got me thinking of when I go out to eat with people and they hassle me or try not to let me look at the nutrition content of food. It is quite frustrating and I want to say, “Hey, just because you don’t care about what you eat doesn’t mean you can make me act the same way.” Or the family member who knows your weakness and buys those items to have in the house. I just want to say, “Are you purposefully trying to make me fat?” Next situation that came to mind was when I was down south visiting friends and family how I met up with my friends Christina and Lisa for dinner one night and they suggested a vegetarian place. How great! They are health-conscious people too and they knew that I am a practicing modified-vegetarian and wanted to support my choice to eat that way. It just made me glad to have those people in my life and I just need to speak up and keep fighting for myself in the other situations I come across. I love healthy food and want to continue on the right path for my health.
(L to R: Lisa, Christina, me, St. Patty's Day in San Diego, 2007)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Minor set backs...

Did I mention that I tried to load my study software for 3+ hours yesterday to no avail? I thought it was my disk drive that acts up from time-to-time and was so annoyed for lack of a better term that I started looking into buying an external drive to work with since I have less than 30 days before I take my test and just started studying! It turns out that the course software disk the company sent me was actually really scratched and my disk drive just couldn’t read it. I figured this out when I tried an audio disk and it worked fine. Hmm… so I called up the software place and they are sending me a new disk and it should be here in 1-3 business days. That means I will be 4 days behind of the 29 I had. I am reading on my own but the DVD lecture series always adds more that the book left out so I am going to have to go over the chapters anyway. Boooo! And because I can’t load the course cd I can’t use the practice questions disk either. Oh Catch-22! Doing my best and reading anyway.

As for my running, I need to still finish my January miles and need to do about 5 miles a day for the next five days to finish. All on the treadmill as it is constantly pouring outside. Yikes! So I set up some lofty goals but I know I will preserver despite these few set backs. Grrrrrrr……bring it on!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Excited about Monday!

Before you start thinking I am a chipper morning person, let me explain why I was happy today was Monday. Even though it is January 25th I am treating it as the beginning of February. I have set a few goals for myself for this month and can't wait to get them accomplished.

1. I am going to start studying and take my next CPA test. It is the longest section but I really want to get it done.
2. No tv. I had gone months without watching tv and I have noticed others around me influences and I started watching shows I never would have on my own. Instead when I am not studying I will be reading a book or working out.
3. Read two books this month. I went a little crazy with books in January but I did take my test and took some time off so I had time to read.

4. Finish my Nike challenge for February which is only 50 miles, but still, I need to finish it and make it more of a priority.
5. No going out to eat. I don't have the money to do it and I feel better when I make my healthy food.
6. Make a recipe from my new Vegetarian Times magazine! (I finally got my first issue and it has promise.)

7. Write all of my thank you notes. Check! Ha. I did this last night so I am already done with one thing on the list.

Goodness, I was so excited to start MY February this morning that I got to the coffee shop to study at 7:15 and only because I chose to make my breakfast and lunch to go. Ok, back to work. Hope you have an inspired Monday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to start with this book? It was not what I was expecting at all. In fact when I first heard about this book it was because I had first heard about these "finger shoes" and was looking them up and doing research and found them on Down at the bottom with the "people who bought this product also bought" there was the book sitting there. I was so confused. I clicked on it and started reading the publishes review. It seemed interesting enough and the next time I talked to my dad on the phone he said he had just picked up a copy of the book! Four family members later I am reading the book and have two more in line behind me waiting for their turn. (And yes the Vibram Five Fingers were mentioned in the book.)

Born To Run is such an inspiring book! Christopher McDougall starts with the question "Why does my foot hurt?" from his running injuries and goes off the diving board from there. He goes insearch of the best way to run and in the process he highlights runners of the decade and century and eventually has all roads lead to a small group of indigenous people in Mexico called the Tarahumara or the Running People. The Tarahumara live simply and enjoy the most out of life and running which, according to the book and research, is what our human bodies were designed to do. Tales of 50, 100, 300 or more mile races are sewn throughout this book along with the people who run them and how they chose to run. And when all of these roads converge they of course end with the best runners in America meeting up and racing the ancient Tarahumara tribe for a running race and a meeting of the hearts and minds. I feel that this books covers so much more than I can even write a review about so I will leave you with two random quote that I had jotted down while reading that I thought were worth some more pondering. And yes, go pick up a copy today and you too might be surprised and inspired by what you read.

This one I kind of loved because I guess in a way every California is a crazy person. But then again we think you are crazy if you DON'T live in California.

“Ken had heard about this guy in California, a long-haired mountain man named Gordy Ainsleigh, whose mare went lame right before the world’s premier horse endurance event, the Western States Trail Ride. Gordy decided to race anyway. He showed up at the starting line in sneakers and set out to run all one hundred miles through the Sierra Nevada on foot. He slurped water from creeks, got his vitals checked by veterinarians at the medical stops, and beat the twenty-four-hour cutoff for all horses with seventeen minutes to spare. Naturally, Gordy wasn’t the only lunatic in California, so the next year another runner crashed the horse race…and another the year after that…until, by 1977, the horses were crowded out and the Western States became the world’s first one-hundred-mile footrace.”

This one was a guy's opinion on how you chose to run. Whether you ran from the heart or sold your soul.

“There are two goddesses in your heart…the Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money. But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Restaurant Review - Eat Chow

Clean. Casual. Good food. This small little restaurant, Eat Chow, tucked away behind The Closet at Triangle Square in Costa Mesa is such a great find. Slightly modern décor greets you as you enter and sit down. Hipster music playing in the background but at a moderate level and with good acoustics making it easy to listen and talk with your dinner guests instead of straining your ears and yelling across the table before you give up in exhaustion. (I can't tell you how important this is to me.) Service was good and our food was brought out in a very timely manor if I may say so. Speaking of food (this is a restaurant review right?) it was so tasty. I opted for the Winter Pear Salad and a half order of the Five Cheese Mac "N" Cheese. The salad and dressing hit the spot and even my meat-loving brother-in-law said it was pretty tasty. The mac 'n cheese had one of those cheese elements that you just couldn't place and yet you had to have more. It is more of the creamy cheese than ooey gooey cheese, which is different but good. Other had the French Dip which was "out of this world" and the steak frites. Drinks ranged from water, to Chimay, to a Bogle Zin which was quite robust yet smooth. If you are in the neighborhood it is worth stopping by.

On a side note, I really miss going and trying good restaurants and am so thankful for my sisters who are always up for the challenge and happened to have introduced me to this one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review: Iron Heart

Let's just saw that the only time I put this book down was when I had to sleep and then drive down to Southern California. It was great and true too!

Iron Heart
is co-written by Brian Boyle and Bill Katovsky about Brian's journey from coma to Kona. Brian was hit by a dump truck on his way home from swim practice shortly after turning 18 and graduating from high school. The accident was so bad that Brian lost over 60% of his blood, shattered his clavicle and pelvis, damaged all of his organs including being hit so hard that his heart moved across his chest. While in a coma he was referred to as being a "vegetable" and not going to ever be able to walk again let alone walk or swim. The book takes you along with Brian and his thoughts over the next few years in which he wakes up, finally becomes able to speak, and eventually walk and swim. Being a natural athlete who pushes himself he decided not to give up on his dream of competing in the Iron Man triathlon held in Kona, Hawaii known to be the hardest triathlon world wide. With a heart of iron (figuratively speaking) and the support of his friends and family, he makes that possible.

It really puts introspective what we can be thankful for and what we too can accomplish with a little heart. A pretty fun and inspiring read.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review: Angry Conversation With God

This book is a memoir of an actress, Susan E. Isaacs, who grows up in a typical Orange County (California) family, struggles with her career, love, and her relationship with God. After struggling with conflicts in her life she blames God and decides to take him to (figurative) marriage counseling. She diagrams her life and with the help of her counselor Rudy, discusses God’s roll in each scenario. While Susan Isaacs is a comedy writer and there is some humor involved in this book, I would by no way call it funny. I found myself paralleling some of her struggles and anger with God and could feel the pain she was addressing. And although it was pain she talked about, she did also come to conclusions and understanding about how things unfolded for her. The way she presented her story and the dialogue with God made each chapter seamless and the flow of her life easy to read. A different yet interesting take on a person’s conversations with God.

I thought I would also post a quote and a quick dialogue a friend and I had about it just to get you thinking.

In this section the author is questioning God about the people in her life and how he let certain resolutions to her problem come about. After her conversation with God and hi replying that he had to use what was available she questions, “Was it possible that Almighty God was limited not by himself but by his people? By who was available to help?”

My short conversation that follows:

Friend: My initial response to this quote is that this is wrong. God doesn’t need his people’s help to get things done.

Me: True, but my response was more we, as children of God, need to step up (theme familiar?) and ask how we can be used better.

Friend: I can see that too. Agreed. We need to step it up.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Apparently I read... a lot

Lately, my mind just won't shut off and I need to constantly be exercising it (more than usual). So between studying and the gym I have been reading books. Lots of books. Now I am not going to post a review for all the books I read, but I will try and post more than I have been. Recently I had a few people ask me about the list of books I was reading and/or had on hold at the library. So here is the list (in alphabetical order). As you might notice, I am currently on a biography/memoir kick.

Books currently at home:
1. Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan E. Isaacs
2. Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead by Brian Boyle
3. The Woman Who Can't Forget by Jill Price

Books on hold at the library and are not yet available:
1. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
2. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
3. Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
5. The Glass Castle: a memoir by Jeannette Walls
6. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
7. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
8. The Water Will Hold You: A Skeptic Learns to Pray by Lindsey Crittenden

They all sound pretty interesting and I encourage you to try reading one.