Friday, January 30, 2009

Poker with the boys

video
I'm posting from my brother's house. My Dad flew into town for some much needed family time. We are playing poker and I am broke. I have 25 cents to my name. one blue chip..... wait.... now I have no chips. I suck. 

Gambling is definitely not my thing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

a whole lot of boring....

I haven't posted a blog in several days and there is a perfectly good excuse for that. I have been busy doing nothing. Or at least that is how it has felt. I have been really focused on putting healthy and wholesome food in my body, as well as spending some time at the gym. Things are very good on that front!

Unfortunately, it hasn't snowed for weeks on Mt. Hood, so snowboarding has taken a backseat. My research project with Portland State has also started. I spend my days away from Lifeworks interviewing older adults at the Rose Schnitzer Tower in downtown Portland. It seems like every minute has been spent working or working out and sleep is my favorite part of the day. It has been tedious, but rewarding.

I'm really happy to report that I'm headed to Seattle for the weekend. My DAD flew in from Las Vegas and seriously it has been a LONG time since I have seen him.... Too Long! I think it has been between 2 and 3 years!! The weekend is all planned out and I am excited to spend time with the fam! 

Stay tuned for pics of Daddio!
Happy Weekend!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

healthy eats

I have had my eye on a healthy recipe and finally had the time and energy to put it together this evening. It is a Thai chicken and green bean curry over brown rice. This recipe did require me to pick up some new ingredients that I have not used before, the scariest being fish sauce. It was also the first time in a while that I have worked with Jalapeno peppers. I always forget to be cautious when dicing J-peppers and right now the skin underneath my thumbnails is BURNING!!! 
This recipe wasn't difficult to make- some dicing and stirring over the oven top. I did have a major moment of hesitation when adding the fish sauce. I was worried about whether or not the fishiness would be overpowering. Luckily, it turned out perfect.
The good news is that the portion in this picture has about 300 low-fat calories and it is packed with fiber. So glad I have leftovers!

I should also note that I manipulated the original recipe by adding more green beans and more light coconut milk. I also diced the garlic and left it in the curry mixture. I also added extra J-pepper for flavor and the 'sweat factor'. I like it spicy!

Ingredients:

3 cups of uncooked green beans, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 spray of cooking spray
2 tsp of jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup of light coconut milk divided
2 tbsp green curry paste
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lemon grass, minced
1 lb uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp basil, fresh, minced
2 cups cooked brown rice

Instructions:

Steam green beans in steamer basket or microwave until crisp and tender, drain and set aside. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add Jalapeno and garlic, cook, stirring frequently. Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon grass, stir, bring to a simmer. Add chicken and reduce heat to medium-low, simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add green beans and basil, add remaining coconut milk for about 1 minute until sauce is smooth, then remove garlic.

Serving size is about one cup of curry mixture over 1/2 cup of brown rice. Tada- a 300 calorie, fresh, tasty dinner!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tiny Puppies!

My employee Lynda has been trying to breed her cute long haired Chihuahua for ages. Finally, her pup had babies a few days before Christmas and I have been waiting oh so patiently for them to be big enough for visitors. Last night Betty and I went to her place to play with the cutest tiny puppies!!! I was so happy! 

What I am not happy about is the fact that this blogger would not let me post any of my longer videos. I am now familiar and comfortable manipulating video with IMovie, but for some reason, shortening the clips wouldn't let me post them. So, I only have this one short clip with me in it. Ugh... I hate hearing my own voice and seeing myself (especially after a sweaty workout) on video, so please focus on the cute little puppy in my hand. 

Puppies really do make everything better!

video

my Obama post

I went to the gym after a very productive research day at Portland State University. I was pumped about my new relationship with a professor and the opportunities that could be in my future if I play my cards right. I had a lot of positive energy and I was ready to hit the treadmill at the gym. Halfway into my run, Oprah showed a video for a new song. It's called, "America's Song". The video came on and this was when the magnitude of Obama hit me. The video showed images of President Obama embracing Americans, Americans embracing Americans.... It was just too much for me to handle during my run, yet I was so happy to be erupting with emotion. I realized that for the first time since before I moved to Asia, I was REALLY proud to be an American. I know this sounds ungrateful and disrespectful, but I don't mean it that way. When I was travelling back in '99, America was policing several countries around the world and we had that bully-know-it-all attitude. When I was in China, they hated us because we had accidentally bombed one of their embassies, so I said I was from Vancouver BC. Sad but true. We were two young ladies and safety was our priority. 

I'm not sure one president can really help others forget about how we have been historically perceived, but President Obama's inaugural speech provided an excellent starting point for mending our relations with others in this world. President Obama made me feel humane and American in the same sentence. I was overcome by his images in that video on that treadmill and was really trying to breathe, cry and run at the same time. Luckily, everyone else was running so they didn't see my sobfest!  

I also decided that I would enjoy this state of pure hope. I will not pass judgement on what I think might happen, or where he might fail. I'm going to enjoy this feeling that we can and will change. I'm so thankful for this time. I'm also thankful I didn't fall off the treadmill.

If you would like to see this video, please click this link:      America's Song Video

Happy Day and Days to come!

Monday, January 19, 2009

off to the coast

Today is MLK day and the last day of Bush's term. (big sigh.....) I don't have anything really to say except for thank God tomorrow is almost here. My boss and many others around PDX have bumper stickers saying only 1-20-09 . I can't believe tomorrow is that day. Thank you Thank you Thank you. I'm too tired to go into anything deeper... just thank you.

I have been having too much fun lately and decided to keep it going with a trip to the coast today. Sophie and I decided to tackle the surf. The waves were big and a lil' choppy and powerful. Today the waves tumbled us like we were in a washing machine. It was worth it though. They are so much easier to pop up on when they are strong. Many small crappy things happened today, but Soph and I made the best of it. Her rental board was a piece of junk, Baby kept escaping her tent and running back and forth howling on the beach like a crazy dog, the rip tide was strong, and the best one.... a random dog peed in my backpack. A comedy of errors really. 
Look at the little guy out there. The waves were really big! Well big for me anyways.Hang twenty Baby!
Sophie drying off after fighting the relentless waves.Baby and her mama.
I took this photo on the drive home. The sunset was stunning. I just need a little beach cabin to retire too. 
One last photo before we headed home.

Now- it is time to sleep in anticipation for the single most important political day of my lifetime. History awaits us!

Friday, January 16, 2009

more vitamin D

Please click here to see how today was. This Friday was almost exactly like Wednesday with a few exceptions.
  • Today I saw a completely naked dude (pants and panties around his ankles with no shirt) snowboarding down a run. I'm still recovering.
  • Snowboarding without an Ipod is not so bad.            No Ipod = free beer. Being antisocial is overrated.
  • Today I boarded with only one layer- my long underwear! and my snow pants of course..
  • I chopped my hair last night. I'm still undecided. It is really short. I would post pics that highlight the cut, but I'm feeling bashful still. me bashful??
  • Baby came to the mt. with me today. We had a hike on the way home and of course we had to take some photos. 

a photo taken with the timer....
This was a friend Baby made in the parking lot. 'Tillamook' is considered a giant Malamute. His body was the same size as a great dane. He weighs 155lbs. Baby was only mildly intimidated. This dog had the same size head as mine. It was nuts!

Another great day in the books. I have rosy cheeks and a strong desire to camp in the snow? I wish you were here Jamie A so we could camp!!! Looking forward to your visit--- 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vitamin D is a good thing

Some days I just have to ask myself, "What did I to deserve such a great day"? Today was one of those days. My face hurts from smiling all day long. I left the winter jacket in the car, ditched the helmet and goggles and opted for only two thin layers. I think the high was about 41 degrees. It caused the strangest sensations. I was snowboarding in mid January, yet the sun on my face made me want to go backpacking. It was crazy wonderful and I'm hoping to get back up there on Friday before the weekend rush. 

I ate my lunch while laying on the dry warm pavement next to my car while sunning myself. I was a happy clam.
Again... What did I do to deserve such a beautiful day? LovintheOregon....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RIP IPOD

It has happened. My 30 gig old generation photo ipod died today at the gym. I just spent the last 2 hours trying to revive her, but it is hopeless. When I plug it in or push the reset buttons the black and white apple logo comes on and then a big frowny face with the online address for apple help appears.... over... and over again...  The sad thing is that I bought this little piece of technology in 2005 and didn't even really use it till 2007. If only she would have lasted one more day. I will have to be music-less tomorrow on the mountain. 

anybody have a shuffle they want to sell me? Whatever will I do in the meantime??

We had a good go at it Ipod!

Monday, January 12, 2009

growth

  He was the type of guy who always had a comb in his back pocket. He never went one day without his shirt and slacks pressed and his style in many ways made up for his petite stature. Those who love him describe his personality as polar. He either shared his love openly and completely, or he was set in his old self-centered ways. A love-hate relationship it seemed. 

Now, near the end of his life, despite the ease in which he belts out profanities when asked to to clean himself up or go to the doctor's office, his family shows only unconditional love in return. His behaviors would push most families to move him into a nursing home or more intensive care environment. Not this family. The same stubbornness this frail old man exhibited through out his life has now manifested itself into his two loyal adult children. 

There is something about the shrinking of the brain that causes those with Alzheimer's disease to resist showering, baths, or anything that requires large quantities of water. His family had no success with in-home caregivers and found that his episodes of profanity turned into aggressive physical confrontations. No one would try and help this family bathe this man and his condition was nearing unbearable. He came for a visit to see if we could help him clean up to his pre-Alzheimer's level of cleanliness. We had our work cut out for us. He hadn't had a thorough shower in over 6 months.

He walks tall at 5'1", about 4 inches shorter than he did 40 years ago. His chin up, his swagger pronounced and his flirtation with the ladies more active than ever. To most he presents as a 'dirty old man'. My first impression was no different. His first showers were terrible, unimaginable really. As one of the stronger and larger in stature (uhm hm...) staff members I worked with another staff member to try and find ways to help him want to shower. We had little success. We learned that while this man's physical strength was dwindling, his vocal chords and diaphragm were well in tact. Our shower's included language that took some getting used to. We were sluts, bitches, whores.... the sexist language was almost too much for me and my feminist ego to endure. Then I reminded myself, it was his disease talking. His social filter was non-existent and his only defense in getting us to stop the shower was to use disrespectful language. Unfortunately for him, it didn't work. We slowly undressed him and helped him into the shower where his mood immediately changed for the better as his body began to smell clean and fresh. After drying him off and dressing him, we would assist him in brushing his teeth, shaving and brushing his hair. His mood was almost always good once we were finished. He would re-enter the activity room a restored man ready to engage conversation with the ladies.

We have been showering this gentleman one time a week for nearly 8 months. He has good days and bad days. Lately he has had more bad days than good. He stayed home for nearly 3 weeks after falling very ill. His weakness was unexplained and luckily he was able to slowly recover, although it was clear that he had lost cognitive and physical abilities. Despite his newly acquired losses, his comfort level with our program was unaffected. The day he returned, he looked defeated and just plain exhausted. He resisted his shower, but less than usual. His energy level was low and his stubborn efforts were minimal. He had aged.

We often take turns completing the after shower care. It was my turn to shave and I mean shave him. This small man grew a beard in 2 1/2 weeks that most men I know would be envious of. I marveled at it for a few minutes. Then I realized that I would be shaving it. It was so long that we needed clippers to do an initial trim. We didn't have any though, so with the razor, shaving cream, a sink basin filled with warm water and a large towel we worked together to shave his face. It took us 55 minutes.  This happened last Tuesday and I haven't been able to shake this experience. Usually personal care is pretty straight forward, but this shave was symbolic. 

This man, who at times uses offensive sexist language, has really grown on me and by shaving down his thick overgrowth, it was almost as if we had restored something inside him. I saw his eyes transform. We started out with blank stares into the mirror and when we were done he looked at himself with renewed confidence and dignity. If it were allowed, I would have photographed his face. It was so powerful to me.

I often think about my purpose.... my purpose at work... my purpose on this earth... my purpose in my relationships.... I still don't have the answers, but I can tell you that completing the simple act of shaving that frail man's course beard made me feel like I was  a part of something very special. In that moment he felt dashing and confident. He didn't seem insecure, angry or defensive. He was again just Mr. W.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

small spaces

I had a very relaxing Saturday, reading and watching old movies. Today I worked on picking up around my apartment. I have come to the conclusion that I have outgrown my studio apartment. At first, it felt uncomplicated and simple. Now it feels downright cramped. I have a lot of stuff, and the stuff I have in this studio isn't even all my stuff! My 486-square feet are filled with too many things; a queen bed, large leather couch, bar style table, two chairs, ironing board, cat perch, dresser, bicycle, surfboard, 4 helmets, snowboard, 2 overflowing bookcases, ottoman, skateboard, decorative pillows, vacuum cleaner, dog kennel, 37 pairs of shoes, way too many t-shirts....oh my goodness there's a lot. When it comes time to 'clean' I feel like I'm just shifting stuff from one place to another. Ugh. I am so ready for more space. 

In spite of my 'space issues' the rest of the day was great. I made buffalo chicken salad for lunch and had a great workout at the gym. Tomorrow is a new week. 


Friday, January 9, 2009

just another day...

I made it to the Mt. today, but later than usual. I had to stick around Portland for a conference call, but finally got to Meadows at 11am. I was tired and had some residual crankiness from this past week, but I could do nothing but grin from ear to ear when I came around a corner and saw this:
It was a beautiful day on the mountain. There is nothing that makes me happier than coming home a soar puppy after a great day of snowboarding. Luckily, the pain is not bad enough to keep me from kareoke-ing with friends tonight. Happy Friday night all!!!

Adventures in photography

This past summer and fall I shot photos of the beautiful Sophia. The goal was to take a photo that she could use for her senior yearbook photo. We got together on two separate occasions and I took A LOT of photos. Since this was my first go at this, I was hoping for just one or two good photos. After playing around with the images on IPhoto, I was able to manipulate a few of them and give them a personality of their own. Here are some of my favorites:









Too much fun! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

crankypants

I have no real excuse to be cranky. Some days I just run out of patience. The main source of my crankiness = passive aggressiveness. I can't stand this form of communication. I know that we are all guilty of this form of communication at some point, but dealing with it consistently from the same person in a professional environment... this drives me up the wall. Usually I have no problem shrugging this off, but today, I've just had it. Whew. I feel better already.  

Besides, I couldn't stay cranky for long- I had a fantastic yoga session this evening. My cranky factor kind of went back up when I found out it was going to poor rain all day tomorrow at Mt. Hood. Heather, her boy Matt and I will have to pass on snowboarding tomorrow, but again- this isn't so bad because this will give me time to work on another grant proposal for my substance abuse program. I have A LOT of work to do on this grant proposal, so much that I was feeling guilty about boarding anyway. So... Heather and I will meet to work on stuff (away from my job environment and the passive aggressive crap) and have a beer at Roots tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I have nothing to be cranky about anymore. Now, my cozy bed awaits. I love sleep!

OhYaSumiNasai or good night in Japanese!
(oh-yah-su-mee-na-sigh) 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

uhmmm... big engines...

"You can take the girl out of Kent, but you can't take the Kent out of the girl".

I grew up in what used to be the boonies. My daily drive to high school consisted of long straight roads through large open fields and by the local feed store. The infamous Ross Feed and Grocery is still there in the middle of the multiple cookie cutter suburban neighborhoods. It is hard to go back and see the development. I prefer to remember it just how it was.  

Kent used to be the joke of the Seattle Metro area. It's flannel, redneck, 'wanna be cool, but not' reputation provided material for what was then the very popular comedy television show Almost Live. I can remember 4-wheeling in my high school boyfriend's explorer, catching air over huge mounds of dirt in the backwoods. So-Much-Fun I had!! Those 4-wheeling adventures in combination with my Mom's Harley boyfriend helped me to develop a healthy appetite for muscly speed. When a good friend told me about Dodge's obstacle course challenge- I absolutely wanted to see it. The web clips are well worth a quick viewing. The only negative was that they didn't choose a few hardcore ladies to compete with the 'tough guys'.  whatever.... check it out!

Ram Challenge link
(be patient- it takes a minute to load)

For about 2 minutes I felt bad about supporting such a fuel hog of a vehicle, you know living in Portland and all. However, I was surprised to learn that the advances in technology actually make this truck get 5 more miles to the gallon than my Ford Explorer! Wow! And it has a built in Cooler! (i know i'm a dork- i'm laughing at myself right now)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

finally getting around to sharing my...

.... New Years cheer and resolutions.

Yay! Happy 2009! 

I never have been one for 'making New Years resolutions'. They have usually been half-hearted attempts to eat healthier and exercise regularly. This year, I'm taking a different approach. The transitions in my life over the last year or two have been dramatic. Don't get me wrong, I have many lucky stars to thank. I finished my Ph.D without hurting myself or any university officials. I have also had time to reflect on what I really want out of the 5 to 10 years. I don't have anything tangible to show for this progress, but I understand how precious it is..... to have found my purpose.... I'm thankful, but I have also hit some speed bumps. Amidst the transition I have felt insecure, uncertain and afraid- afraid to put myself out there and trust that I have what it takes to do these things. I no longer wear the grad student hat and until this past year I had no idea what that meant. It meant that no matter what else was going on in my life, I had direction, a goal- to finish my degree. Now I have a clean slate, debt and a real inability to find a full-time job that I thought would fall into my lap at some point. The truth is that now I feel like the real work begins. I remember a professor saying that "grad school was the easy part, it's being productive and successful after grad school that really takes determination".

So here are my resolutions or my structure-creating, self-imposed directives:
  • Spend less time on the internet- I didn't realize how reliant I am on my internet until the power went out during the arctic blast that hit Portland a couple of weeks ago. Immediately after it went out, my thoughts went straight to my computer. My heart rate increased and at that time I realized I needed to start cutting the cord. This will be hard since I am in love with my Macbook!!!
  • Actually start the consulting business that I have been hypothetically creating in my head- I don't need to have a steady client stream or an office with a water cooler, just a tasteful and functional website with clear descriptions of what I have to offer. To start out: dementia and substance abuse in older adults. This should be plenty to keep me busy for a while.
  • Run a half marathon- I already picked a race in July. Now I need to step up and do it.
  • Work on being less stubborn- Being stubborn has served me well in the past with school, work, etc., but not lately. I need to let some things go and not think that I 'always know'. I need to step back and find some peace in the chaos that is the universe. I do not have control and while that is difficult to say, I need to start living it.  By far, this is my most challenging goal.
  • Become a real estate and mortgage specialist- I would really like to get into a place of my own...... sooner than later. 
  • Pay more attention to my spiritual health- I have read several books and had experiences with meditation that have been inspiring. However, to actually commit to a daily and/or a weekly time to do this is very difficult. I NEED to make this a priority.
  • Prepare my dissertation for publication- After not getting the support I was looking for from my major professor, I realized this will be a solo effort. Again, my insecurity is screaming at this one!
Well I think that is enough for now. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.