9.30.2009

The fabulous work of Mark Jenkins

Daily I visit a site called Wooster Collective, it is a site that is dedicated to street art. I love going on and seeing what type of creative art people have blessed the streets with worldwide daily. The work that I have been drawn today lately has work by Mark Jenkins. He is an American based street artist, but most of his work can be found on the streets of Europe. He does a great job of taking every day items and turning them into something funny (street signs, fire hydrants, etc), but his newest movement has been using packaging tape and recycled plastic. He makes animals, human replicas and other odd shapes and places them in their natural habitat, personally I think it is brilliant! Enjoy!

How creative, wouldn't it be awesome to be walking downtown and see this?!
It is fall!
Look closely (France)
No need for that there...
This reminds me of Eastview mall
Gucks
This is just silly
Oh look, it's Sarah!
Flabongo?

9.29.2009

FIRST SNOW OF THE YEAR IS HERE!!!!

MARK IT! September 29, 2009
FIRST SNOW OF THE YEAR IN TRUCKEE!!!!
HOOOOOORAY! We all just went out side and watched some of the mini flurries come down! It is FREEEEZZZYYY here right now!

I AM SO HAPPY!

why we eat pizza

So lately I have been being a college student. Okay, that sounds weird...I have been focused on my studying so much that I will eat the fastest cooking meal I can get my hands on. Now don't get me wrong, I still love cooking up a great yummy meal that takes a long time to cook that needs a lot of ingredients and tends to be expensive. The solution? Pizza. Who doesn't like pizza? I am pretty sure it is part of the contract of being a college student. I have been pretty good about staying away from overloading myself with carbs throughout the years but some days there is nothing better than pizza and beer! What a delicious meal. No big mess to clean up, no utensils needed, you can get all the food groups covered (ha ha ha!) and you are always satisfied and ready to start studying again. I always used to wonder why so many kids were so into order pizza's at the dorms, or why there was never any pizza left at the DC. Now I am slowly getting it. Luckily, I don't love pizza that much so I will be able to stick to my soup and greens.

Well it is really yucky weather here today. It is the kind where you set up the trainer inside and pedal away. Right now I am listening to the dishwasher churn away at all those dirty dishes the 3 of us pile up in a week. I will probably clean at some point today, maybe get around to that paper, perhaps a nice brisk walk to the mail box. Word on the street is there are some flakes up at Donner Summit. Snow tonight above 6,000 ft. YES! But, I don't want to jinx it just yet, since it only is September....we still have a good month and a half left until the excitement of snow really starts to build up! Ohhh I can't wait! AND Ash gets here next week! Heckkkkk yah!

9.28.2009

Chico. Yuck.

Even if I had chosen to ride with my camel back instead of a single water bottle I probably would have suffered just as equally in another way of bodily harm. It was the first collegiate race of the season; I had to place top 5 among some of the best cross-country riders in the northern part of California. I thought I had this in the bag. Evidently I was in for a surprised after the first 5-mile climb.

The night before a teammate Jake and I had rolled into Chico, California around 8 pm. The drive was horrendous. Jake being an engineer and myself not understanding science one bit, lead to a missing link in our communication. I know I was in for a really interesting trip when we pulled into the first gas station and he said “your job is going to be to check the oil”, trying to think of a quick excuse in my head “Um, I don’t know how to” as I opened the passenger car door and quickly shuffled my little feet into the gas station “We can do it when you come back out!” he yelled after me. Baby Jesus puuuuuuuuhhhhlease save me. I am going to need a cup of coffee to stay awake for this ride…or maybe I shouldn’t that way I fall asleep because I am so bored and then I won’t have to listen to him talk about the physics of biking. Ugh! As a nice gesture I grabbed Jake some coffee too. I walked back two cups of hot coffee in hand, a bag of M&M’s and a Gatorade. “Here Jake” I handed him a coffee, “oh wow that was nice of you. Did you put anything it in?” “Anything like what?” As I thought I should have, something gross like salt or something in the condiment station for the hot dogs that the truckers come in and grab, he would have probably never known until he got down to the end of the cup! “No, I like mine black, sorry!” He walked off in a huff, perfect if I get on my phone he won’t be able to make me check the oil; plus I knew that if I was able to get a hold of my mom fast enough than I could tell her about how the first 5 minutes of our drive have gone and what the next two-hours have in store for me. Voicemail great, well if I leave something that makes me sound desperate she’ll call me back stat “Ah hello! Mom, you are very going to guess what I am dealing with right now!??! Now, don’t get me wrong he is a nice kid and everything, but remember Jake? The one that fit my bike? Yah well he is a complete science nerd and I totally don’t understand what he is saying! He wants me to perform science experiments like check the oil and crap! Savvveeee me! Um, but here he comes so call me back! Love you!” With my luck she was already in bed since it was about 9 o’clock east coast time. Hum, whom could I call next? My little sis! Voicemail again “Hey Sar, its sissy! Call me!”. It was like I was running through my phone list trying to avoid talking about the next scientific thing on our road trip agenda.

Two hours later and a lot of talk about watt conversion for race training, what “green” really meant in science terms, not the actually movement that we find ourselves participating in, and learning about his new science nerd girlfriend we arrive! Oh thank god! The next hump I had to get over was talking to strangers. We were invited to camp in the backyard of the president of Chico states bike team’s back yard. Oh joy, I hate camping! Yuck, I am going to smell and look like death on race day. Good thing I am not trying to impress these people with my looks, just with my ass kick on my bike skills.

We were lead to the backyard and dealt with turning off the sprinklers. I struggled with putting up the tent I borrowed from my roommate; generally at bike races I stay in a hotel or a condo so I can stick with my pre-race routine. Paint my nails a tone of pink, eat a yummy carb loaded dinner, watch a chick flick, and get a good night of sleep so I can wake up and do my hair and makeup before I go out and kick some major ass. I could already tell that there were going to be some major flaws in my pre-race routine because I was sleeping A) outside B) in a tent and there was no TV. While Jake was off doing whatever he does I sat in a chair on the deck correcting an English paper, I felt like something was looking at me, I peered up from my corrections and there was a giant raccoon. He looked at me with a snarl and a paw in the air. I lifted my feet off the deck thinking this would actually do something and shook my paper at the rabies filled, trashing munching burglar. It scampered off under the deck, oh fabulous now I have to deal with that thing under the deck all night.

“We are waking up at 6 am,” Cody, who had just arrived announced to all the rest of the team who now joined Jake and I in a tent-building brigade. “PIT I will wake you up in the princess palace, Jake I’ll kick you and the rest of you are in charge of walking up yourselves”. I had gained the name PIT when we had all gone around asking what each others majors were and the acronyms which were used: Mechanical engineering, physics, blah, blah, blah, it got to me “Princess in Training” I replied, “awwww awesome we can call you PIT like armpit. Annnnd you have a princess tent it is like a palace, meant for 3 people but just little you is sleeping in it!” said Griffon. What have I gotten myself into. I moved my tent, or shall I say palace, away from the deck and climbed in, I shimmied myself into my sleeping bag. One of the other boys had brought a cot to sleep on, and just with my luck decided to sleep right next to me. Everyone movement he made sounded like a balloon animal being tied together, he was a squirmier. Great.

After only getting about 15 minutes of sleep I found Cody shaking my tent and telling me to wake up. The next adventure was driving to the race. We got lost for 45 minutes; if Jake would have listened to my iPhone and I in the first place we would have been fine. After a lot of cursing and frustration we pulled into the parking lot. Hustled to registration. Speed changed and managed to make it to the start with plenty of time to spare. There is something about the idea of being rushed before a race that makes me ride harder. I ran through a quick mental checklist: bike, shoes, helmet, Gu, water bottle, tool, CO2, glasses. Okay, I think I am set. It amazes me the mental preparation that people have to go through in order to get ready to race. Sports are 98% mental it seems like. I always handle better under pressure. I always try to explain to all those people that train extremely hard that I love the sport, but in a different way than they do. Biking is a male dominated sport, so if you are a girl and you are not afraid to get your hands dirty then you already have made your name in the biking world. So as long as you show up and ride you are guaranteed to get a good finish; if you devote yourself to the sport you could become a superstar in the world of bikes. It is simple. The boys in the sport never understand. While everyone else was psyching themselves out, I stood there ready to get this race over with. I wanted to win, but I had everything working against me. No pre-race routine. No sleep and about 20 other girls whom I have never competed against before. I was fully prepared to lose. These ladies looked tough; they wanted to win. I didn’t care. The whistle sounded, we were off. There I was out in front. 4 of use took a huge lead of the main group fairly quickly, there were the occasional riders that were able to catch up, but were quickly dropped again. It was us four fighting for a spot on the podium. I loved standing up there because it always made me feel tall, and well, when you are 5’3 anything seems huge to you; when I had a chance to tower over others I felt like superwoman. I was used to finishing on the podium, even since I started bike racing 5 years ago I had been wining races my monstrous amounts of time; I was on the fast track of becoming a pro. I was just nervous to take that final leap. There is no turning back once you enter the world of professional riding; the only way one could quit was to stop biking all together.

Good thing I liked climbing because I found myself pounding away at my pedals headed up 5 miles of broken volcanic like rock at 8 o’clock in the morning in 90-degree weather. The rock bounced you and rocked you all over fire road, the heat from the sun pounded down on your shoulder. I was trying to keep myself as hydrated as possible. A headache had already set in. I knew I should have brought my camel back. When you get dehydrated while you are doing a high endurance sport your body starts to fail on your quickly. It took away from the fun of biking. I needed to get to the downhill. I made it, people were cheering. I knew I had made it about half way through the course. Okay I can do this. A river crossing? Seriously!?!? Great, I have my iPod in my jersey; I really hope it doesn’t get wet. I don’t have the money to buy a new one right now. Okay, it is only knee high. Carrying a bike is horrible, there is no efficient way to do it, you can push, you can pull, you can throw it over your shoulder if you are tall enough (of course I wasn’t). A girl from Chico had caught up to me, I asked her how far we were and how much longer of this hell I had left. “About an hour and it is basically all up hill from here” she said. I tried to respond back to her like I was upset about that, but, going uphill is were I excelled. It was time for me to turn my motor on and catch those other girls ahead of me. I blew passed the other girl, and didn’t see her again until I had crossed the finish and changed out of my clothes. By the top of the climb I was struggling. It was like ball bearing rocks; your tires are constantly spinning out. I thought I would never reach the top. Then I found a course marshal yelling “You made it! You are to the top! One more climb, you have time to recover!”. Okay here we go. I had managed to pass a few men on the climb that had started 5 minutes before me, so I knew they would probably catch me on the downhill unless I really put the pedal to the metal. One of them caught up, “go, go go!” I yelled trying to keep my pace while letting him pass me. That was a stupid mistake because I quickly passed him again once we reached the “hike a bike”, basically a section where you were running up some cliffs with your bike. Not my definition of fun. I could hear people cheering from a distance, I knew that that only meant I was close. I caught up to a group of people on the side of the trail, they let me pass and I realized it was a fellow team member “Oh no! Are you okay?” I yelled. “Yah just keep going”, well I wasn’t really going to stop and help you in the first place so you don’t have to worry about that…I am racing. I could see two of the girls a head of me. I can catch them I thought. I put as much energy as I had left into getting to the finish. They just crossed right before I was able to get there. Damn it! I had to settle with 4th place. I was not happy. Even though I managed to beat more than half of the women’s field I wanted to win; I hated not being one of the top 3 girls. The two girls that finished before me kept on telling me how awesome I rode and how close I was to catching them; to myself I thought ‘Obviously I didn’t ride well enough’. I tried to let it go, next weekend I’ll be up there on the podium. I want to win, I am craving it. I know I am powerful enough.

I went and washed my face in the water. I could taste the sweat rolling off my face and leaving a fresh clean feeling all over my sensitive skin. I should have ridden with my camel back I kept thinking. I found a ride that was going to Tahoe, instead of sitting around for a day and a half in Chico waiting for the other races to finish up I hoped aboard and found myself happily back in Truckee later than afternoon. There was no way that I was going to be able to sleep in a tent for two nights especially with the worlds largest raccoon tip-toeing around my tent. No thank you.

9.24.2009

So my mom introduced me to this blog called Shelterrific. It is probably one of my FAVORITE sites to explore. I have added it to my morning routine of reading the Daily Beast, Perez Hilton and RGJ. There are so many amazing and creative decorating ideas and just other really fun quirky ideas too. Trying to avoid writing my 5-page paper on Malcom X right now I decided to go back into the archives of the site and see some of their decorating ideas for a few months ago!

What a great idea! Good use of old pieces but classy looking!
These side tables have been tattooed! Like an artist used a tattoo gun on the wood and went to town! So pretty!
I wish I had a bath tub right now...
I want one of these. It is a set of little gypsy trailers all brightly decorated. They remind me of a fairly tale.
Some day I will have a library that looks like this. Color coded just like my closet!

Okay. I have to write that paper. Finish an English lesson on Zitkala-Sa. Take a Sociology quiz. Take a biology quiz....and re-write my graduation proposal. AND pack for CHICO. Get ready to see an update about biking soon! Tomorrow afternoon I venture down to Chico for my first collegiate race of the season. I am planning on winning --- Enough said.

hands.

Have you seen her hands?
Decorated with rings on each finger; each the size of a quarter or larger.
Is she hiding something?
Her nails color changes every week like a mood ring.
Clear this week; or could it be a sign of the weak?
Not the normal tones of pink and hues of red.
What is wrong?
She doesn't wear her nails long. She had hard working hands.
They hold character.
What is being hidden behind the the decoration?
Do we hide our insecurities through accessories.
She has no name.
She sits there silent.
You know her because of her hands.

9.21.2009

Enjoying college life?

Study, Study, Study
My new after homework distraction
It is the 4th week of classes. I have sat through a total of 36 hours of classes give or take. Homework is slowly starting to pile up. Paper, upon paper. It is to the point where sleep is a thing of the past, and hoping that the printer will work in the morning is the new concern. Where a day of forgetting your 'clicker' than you are risking the loss of participation points; if you arrive to any class to early you are dealing with having to sit and waste precious minutes of valuable college life.
When I am not finding myself wound up in an extravagant paper on the similarities of feminist women theories, or the racial differences of Zitkala-Sa and Malcom X then I take time to drift away. Way away, in to a land where I can turn my brain off and zone out (which these days have been hard to do). Since my all time favorite TV show is not on until October 14 (Nip/Tuck) and considering I don't have TV, I have turned to the great hulu.com. My friend Lauren told me about a show called 'Greek'. What? It isn't going to hurt to relive those short lived months I spent as a sorority girl. Although greek people have a fairly 'iffy' wrap on any college campus, I have to admit it was pretty fun and it is even more fun to vicariously live it through a TV show. I have become addicted to these 40 minute episodes, I feel like I am almost friends with the characters. I get excited when something good happens or I doubt their decisions. I like when they fall in love, I feel spiteful when sly actions erupt. It has been my sanity. Ha, that sounds funny. Sanity through a TV show? Yep. It can be achieved. The writers of the show have done a miraculous job recreating what greek life is really like, the truth behind why students actually join, and the sneakiness behind the scene that one would never really picture when that cute Zeta Beta Zeta walks bye you on your way to class. Awwwww, so innocent. HA! NOT!

well, time to go sit in my bio class with all my ex pi beta phi sisters and get snarled at!



And a note to the fashionistas and fashionistos, Jorts (jean shorts) are not cool. Throw them out.

9.18.2009

Be vewwy, vewwy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits!

How neat is this? Very mod artistic, and of course something this innovative would be in Belgium. Looks like that might have to be one of my stops on my eventual world travel...of course...I would go there for chocolate too...I've heard it is good!



Cup O' Joeeee

This morning as I was waddling quickly to class, coffee in hand of course! I was curious how some people can go through school without starting their day off without having a nice hot, black, cup of coffee? I wouldn't be able to survive. I am doing a detox right now (change of seasons) and I was going to try and give up coffee for about two weeks, welp, that obviously isn't happening. I tried tea, nope! That doesn't work. In a much earlier post I listed the positive effects of coffee...so in the end...it isn't that bad. Right?

About two months ago Chris and I were driving back up from Reno. After passing through the unneeded agricultural station there was a deer, that was not dead, yet lying in the road (great place to take a nap right?). We avoided hitting it, but if we would have it the impact would have caused serious consequences. We decided to call the police, this seemed like the most ethical thing to do. This way harm could be averted by others, well we called 9-1-1: No answer. CHP: No answer. and it goes on. Do you realize how serious this is? 9-1-1 DID NOT PICK UP! Think about if this was a life or death situation, which is easily could have turned into; and no one picked up!??! Wow. But, yesterday as I was driving from downtown Truckee to my house in Tahoe Donner (which is less than 2 miles, it took about 10 minutes) I passed 6 different cops. Now, Truckee is a small town, similar to the others which I have lived in my entire life. 6 cops, really? This seems a little unnecessary. Then think, wow, 6 cops and no one answered the 9-1-1 call several months ago, hummmmmmm and we are paying for these people to make our community a better place? Well I don't think so. To me is seems as though they do a lot of profiling, casting their destruction towards the youth of the community. Maybe they do not realize that by profiling they are driving the youth out of here. There for driving a lot of the much needed economical stimulus with them. They are more concerned about a person with a crack in a windshield, or not turning their blinker on, or talking on their cell phone, to notice the larger harm that is being put on the community. All in all, I think that the legal system here is way to harsh. Actually, one of the counties here, Placer, is under investigation for OVER sentencing people! Interesting huh? One of my poor poor friends had to go through this court system and deal with their wrath for totally minuscule ticket, but she was punished hard. Her, like many other people I know (friends that just cannot take it anymore) have left and moved to other states vowing to never come back strictly because of the legal system. I think there comes a point in time when the police should be asked: Did you do that at one point? Are you not being a hypocrite right now? And, are you really make this community a better place? I think that all this interest me so much because of my interest in law and the idea of someday being a lawyer. I am in a class right now about expository writing, this class has an emphasis on legal writing, my teacher is amazing! So, sorry if I seem fired up about this sort of stuff, but to me it is so interesting and I think it hits close to home because this is where I live and my friends involved. Knowledge about the legal system is never a bad thing.

Time to go have some......eerrrrrrrr.......tea?

9.14.2009

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees.

It is passing period for me right now. 50 whole minutes of relaxation after listening to my hyper-corrective (which I have decided is the best word ever, even if the tense is not 'standard English) teacher and a break before I find myself as just another person in the lecture hall filled with 300 tired, smelly college students trying to grasp the basic terms of Biology. Seeing that I managed to forget my brain at home today, along with most of my other school work, I decided that I would not dedicate this time to grinding on some nonsense homework, but rather scan the Internet for interesting pictures. Other students are wasting away their free time just like me it seems. There is a girl flipping through the pages of a Democracy book, who really is not reading at all, rather people watching. A 'ddddude' in a tie-dyed shirt playing the air drums on the table across from me (I am guessing he has some Phish playing, or something that would be in the hippie genre). Another girl is resting her sorrows on her elbow in one of the giant lazy boy chairs that are sporadically found hidden on every level of the learning center. Two sorority girls sit behind me criticising my outfit in what they think is a whisper, but I can hear everything. I want to turn around and give them a rude awakening on how plaid does not go with stripes or polka-dots, and that unless you are wearing sweat pants and live in Truckee there is no reason to be wearing 'Ugg' boots with a mini-skirt; I will hold my comments within. A group of freshmen boys sit to my right cramming for a test, when really you know that they keeping getting side tracked by reminiscing the events of the weekend. Other people walk by eyeing my 4 person table which is empty except for myself and my silver friend computer. I spread my work books across the table to make it appear like I need a lot of space, but really this tactic only makes people think that I am studying extremely hard. Little do they know.
Pick this table every time I come to the knowledge center. It is a good table; frankly I am surprised that it is not occupied more often. You can see all 4 levels of the library, you can see the people walking down the stairs. It is not to noisy, but not to hush-hush; that level is just above me for those who need complete silence to stare at a computer screen or to pretend to read a book. Nothing really ever seems to be established in the library. People watching always amuses the bookworm student and soon minds drift off into the ideas of what they could actually be doing. The person who picked out these tables did an exquisite job if you ask me. The tables are short enough to where I have the pleasure to kick my feet up on the other chair and rest my legs. Normally this never helps, I blame it on the tables being to large, not my being to small. My table leads me to great things. Whether that be cramming a paper, finding the right quote, a comfortable home for my coffee and a crumb collector for my array of snacks. It helps me be imaginative and inventive. It makes me be late for class because I am always busy picking up my mess. It distract me, because you can always find me at this table when I am free from the torture of sit-in classes on campus. The University should probably put a plaque here so that future students know how important this table has been, and who sat here. Someday, when I am famous I will go back to that table and place one there. Perhaps I will sketch my initials underneath the table just to hold until that day I come back.
My 50 minutes of imagination has ended. Time to clean and collect all my belongs, bid adieu to my table, I wills see you soon. Perhaps I you could save the date for Wednesday Mr. Table? Thank you for helping me find that fabulous picture of bees today, distracting me from actually studying.

9.13.2009

What it feels like to be sick, incase you forgot

So over the last several days I have found myself very tired. Awake until wee hours of the morning, because I cannot fall asleep. Waking up late, well, truthful because I don't have a job right now. The weather has been a real downer, I honestly blame my sickness on fall setting in. Every morning that I wake up I peek out of the curtains, ready to see snow, we all that hide behind the white-slat blinds are grey clouds which hold no memorable shapes, and a heavy dew running down the leaves outside my window. I felt like I had big plans for the day, all though they dissolved when I saw the outside condition. Soon I found myself back in never-never land; only a few more minutes won't hurt! Once I found the motivation to get out of bed I could feel the heaviness of my head, and the 'owwwwyyy' of my insides saying 'Elizabeth you do not feel good today' but of course I pressed on. A few Advil should do the trick, maybe some food too (and no this was not from drinking the night before...) Chris and I adventured to hang some pictures up, but then we found that of course we were missing important and very helpful tools for the job: screws, a stud finder (even though normally women come built in with one..ha ha ha!) and some other odds and ends. It hit me at true value, all I wanted to do was sit in the car. The feeling of having a person stabbing a main dinner entree fork into my insides and twirling it around as if they were trying to get some spaghetti was really not helping. I came home and gave up all the last efforts that could be put into hanging (well I was really directing) a giant 5 x 7 painting 15+ feet in the air. The paintings are still not hung. It was a bust. Perhaps another day will work better. I curled up in bed, Bucky in hand and drifted off into never-never land again. When I awoke I felt just fine, tried to watch some hulu but that worked out almost as smoothly as hanging the pictures...ha. A little more rest and video chatting with my mom will never hurt. This is one of those days when I wish she could have been here to give me chicken noodle soup and check in on me every once in a while like had done all those years up until I moved out (and still does via phone). No I don't have swine flu, just a little case of the season changing, and school stress. After a little more rest I should be up and running like normal. I guess the good thing about some down time for the last several days has been the freedom I have to let my mind wander and plan out tentative trips for once I graduate! My ideas are almost over flowing. I will admit I am scared to finish school and not be on a routine which starts in August and ends in May any longer. I have been used to that for the last 17+ years of my life. Now, I get to decide what I will be doing day to day. WOOOOWWWWWW!

Well...off to drink a cup of tea, poke around on the Internet a little more and shut my eyes.


9.09.2009

Hello cold weather! How are you?

I know it is near. By it I mean winter; well I guess fall must come first but summer is disappearing. No more 90 + degree days, sweat soaked tee-shirts, the constant restocking of otter pops in the freezer, nope. Now it is time for hot cocoa and extra blankets in bed.
I woke up this morning with the familiar feeling of cold weather kissing my face, the side that was not smashed into my face, being kept warm by one of my million pillows. My body wrapped in blanket upon blanket, and the sheet kicked off the end of the bed. Bucky in my death clench from the dreams that ran through my head throughout the night. I knew that if I moved my limbs a millimeter the coldness of the untouched sheets would creep all over my body. I was in my safe stop; afraid to move at all, it was like a little kid scared to put his feet on the floor because boogie man may reach out and grab your ankles and bring you down to the depths of his grotto. 8:16 am, I knew I still had one more alarm going off in fifteen more minutes, but I needed to get up and brush my teeth. There is nothing worst than waking up and letting morning breath being detained in your mouth, every poof of air that is let out delivers that atrocious scent that we all try to mask once we open our eyes. I hopped out of bed. Perhaps I left my window open last night? Nope, it is closed. Chills ran from my feet to the roots of my hair, burrrrr. Wow, I am in store for a long winter if it is only September and I can hardly stand the coldness of my bedroom. I knew I was only in store for another surprise once I opened my bedroom door and stepped out onto the wooden floor. It felt as though someone has replaced the veneer wood flooring with bricks of ice, and unfortunately they forgot to leave a prior memo about needing snow boots on before exiting your bedroom. The idea crossed my mind that I used to have to put up with negative temperatures back at early morning training in Crested Butte while fully primped in a thin spandex speed suit, with only room for a single layer of thermals. Lets be real, that was years ago...now I am a fair weathered person. I live in California and ski in a down jacket when it is 70 degrees out with the idea that I am actually 'cold'. Here I am irked by the coldness of my bedroom on a September day, perhaps it is time to dig out the winter wear and start wearing it to bed....orrrrrrrrrr just realize that it is not that cold. I went to turn on the kitchen sink to clean a glass left out from the evening before, the cold water rushed out. If I didn't have such a bright imagination I would have been fine, but I swear to you that if I left my little hands under there any longer then I would go into hypothermia. The idea of having to change into school appropriate clothing seemed ludicrous, I was not about to take off that set of warm sweatpants and sweatshirt to freeze while I hemmed and hawed over what tee shirt would look good with what jeans. Okay, not trying to impress anyone. I ripped the first items out of my closet that jumped out at me. This works, I didn't even bother looking in the mirror, or all I knew the tee shirt could have had a large spaghetti stain on it but I wasn't about to change again and risk getting any more chilled. Soon all my problems were solved as I ran out the front door, almost forgetting to lock it and hustled to get into Syd. Turn the key, plug in my phone, seat belt and HEAT! Suddenly, it was like I was back in the midst of summer time, begging for a time in the lake. Ah, finally warm again.

Fall is upon us. One would never guess by looking around at the trees around the Tahoe area..no leave changing. These pine trees are like having rocks as pets, they don't do much, ha! The little jolts of excitedness have passed through my head about ski season. The idea of rounding up equipment, putting away the summer stuff. How could you not get excited!


9.06.2009

Dinner and a movie, wine and friends


So, my roommate (NJ)'s girlfriend and I have become pretty good friends. On several occasions we have gotten together to make dinner. We both have an interest in cooking, and movie watching and wine drinking (her dad works for a wine company in the "valley"). Last time we make a pasta dish with and watched Baby Mama. Tonight we got classy and and made Shrimp Tacos with citrus cabbage slaw, home made pico de gallo and bargain shopped on wine. We ended up without cilantro, oh well, but a great $5 bottle of "Firefly ridge, chardonnay". The dinner was amazing, we got the recipe from Real Simple (THE BEST MAGAZINE EVER!). We have watched some great chick flicks tonight too! Confessions of a Shopaholic and Superstar. We have shared some great laughs...I have a feeling this will be a commonly occurring event! I can't wait to figure out what is on the menu for next week! Try it out, the tacos were simple and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 small cabbage (8 ounces), shredded
  • 1 cup corn kernels (from 1 to 2 ears, or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 8 small flour tortillas, warmed

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the orange and lime juices, sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cabbage, corn, and jalapeƱo and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Serve the shrimp with the tortillas and the slaw.
oh, posted again before this one too! Make sure you read it! Actually it was a "quick write" for my English 321! I really enjoyed it!

Beyond

Beyond the tall sea oat grasses of the ocean was a small east coast cottage. This house looked like it belonged in a fairytale, large green grassy yard. A flourishing vegetable garden. Small patches of garden full and vivid flower beds. The dwelling stood only one story high, covered in wooden shingles, which has been stained by the ocean salt over the years. A small white wooden rowboat sat on the side of the house, ready for find its way to the water. White and red-stripped buoys attached to lobster traps kept their position of readiness next to the boat, which was named “finally”. Two windows with flower boxes housing ivy-leaved geraniums and bright happily colored flowers. A slate patio over looking the front yard hosted a set of cranberry red Adirondack furniture. A split top and bottom door matched the cranberry furniture outside. This charming house was something you could find in the inside of Cape Cod Magazine. Once one walked through the front door they were swallowed up in the simple, yet beautiful, life. White Wayne’s coating covered all the walls, from the aged barn wood floors to hip height where a soft welcoming green paint filled the rest of the walls along with astounding black and white framed photos. Simple rich leathered furniture was available for comfortable seating although it looked as though it was seldom sat in. A kitchen with smooth slate counter tops and stainless steal appliances gave an open feeling. It was easy to tell that this was the room where most of the time was spent when inside. This cottage was like a puzzle, every piece put together so perfectly. My attention was drawn to a black and white photo over white wood-framed fireplace. As I approached I saw three beautiful blonde women, a mother and her two daughters, large smiles, you could see the love between these people. A black Labrador retriever in the background. This was a family. A family full of love for each other. A family that was “finally” doing what they aspired to do. Beyond the tall sea oat grasses lived a strong family full of love.

9.04.2009

Swine Flu

Here piggy, piggy, piggy!
What Swine flu really looks like

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the UNR clinic reading "Flu season is just around the corner and we are offering not only the normal flu shot, but also one for swine flu". WHAT? I thought to myself, I pulled off the road immediately and read the rest of the e-mail, it said something about how there are plans for if there is an epidemic on the campus, and they do expect some cases, so remember not to share utensils and food, wash your hands, blah, blah, blah the normal. What caught me the most was the idea that the vaccine had been released to the general public. Only days early did a friend and I have a discussion about some recent news that had been released about a vaccine POSSIBLY being available to the public this fall. It had already been boxed up and read for shipment, but labs were just waiting to get the final results back. Well, evidently they ship the product, but, this still does not mean it is okay for us.
Media is a large part of our lives. I have lived in my house now for close to 3 months where we have not had cable or any source of television (unless we are catching missed episodes of ABC online), I rely on the Internet, but I pick and chose my reading very carefully. When swine flu was REINTRODUCED to the United States people started to go crazy. Masks were worn in public places, death scares, children being pulled out of school, and measures that were totally unneeded occurred since the start of 2009. The virus is also known as H1N1. H1N1 (the proper name for the virus, I prefer swine flu just because it doesn't sound so classy) was a virus that was traced back to the death of pigs (obviously) years and years ago. This virus was very prevalent in pigs up until 1998, when it was then isolated then only leaving other strands of the virus around (which didn't link to the of the animals). There are three different classifications of the virus, A, B, and C. A and C effect both humans and pigs, but C is very rare. B has not yet been reported in pigs, so I think we are home-free there.
The first outbreak was in the 1918's. Why and how this outbreak occurred is still unknown. Scientist are not sure if it was transmission from pig to human, or human to pig. There was a fairly high estimation of 50 - 100 million people WORLDWIDE were killed, which in the grand scheme of things today is not that many. Sad? indeed. Mostly because this virus came out of no where.
1976 was the next large epidemic of the swine flu in the United States. It was found in several soldiers, whom unfortunately died from the flu and not from battle because of swine flu. The idea of a flu breakout was alarming to people and caused panic. It also sprouted the idea of creating a vaccination to fight against the strand. I mean why not? We have a vaccination for everything else basically right? WRONG! this vaccination that was created almost caused more harm to people than actually defending them from the disease. In October 1, 1976 the vaccination program began; that same day three elders that had received the shot against swine flu died. There was no "direct" link to their deaths to the shot, but this was the government talking too, although this acted as a major scare to people and then the refusal of the shot became even more of a problem. Soon after it was found that there were many cases of "Guilliain-Bare syndrome, a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder" (this hurt most young people that took it) had overcome people that had gone ahead and received the immunization. The program which had been made to encourage the shot for swine flu was taken back at the start of December 1976. MORE PEOPLE ACTUALLY ENDED UP DYING FROM THE VACCINATION THAN FROM THE DISEASE!
Over the last several years the H1N1 virus has been found across the world, normally just in swines and not in humans. That is until the start of this lovely year: 2009. This swine flu is different than the previous ones that swept across the country. The strain is made up different, and has not actually been found in pigs. BUT, it is made up close enough to the previous accounts of disease that they still label this swine flu. Humans have now become the one to blame in giving this virus to those cute little pink pigs. And we can not account for cases all over Mexico, the United States and Canada, eh?. This virus is not as bad as the media has made it out to be, but because our society and culture relies so much on media we only trust the words they feed to us. This flu is similar to other flu's that I am sure we have all experienced previously "In the US it appears that for every 1000 people who get infected, about 40 people need admission to hospitals and one person dies" (Take a Deep breath, Swine Flu is not that Bad. Crikey. 2009-05-25). So we can all take a deep breath of sanity, and know that we are all not going to die. The flu comes and goes in the winter months. Wash your hands, exercise (so your immune system is strong), eat healthy, if you have a cold: treat it (chicken noodle soup, Gatorade, elderberry, tea, rest!), don't touch your hands to your eyes, don't share with others (ha, talk about pre-school 101 ruined...), stay hydrated, if you feel like this is more than the normal flu you should PROBABLY go to the doctor, but really...just be smart about it! Drink your OJ (or how ever you get your vitamin C) because that is said to be a large preventive to contracting the disease, and if you are really nervous about it grab a face mask and stick it in a convenient place for you to grab whenever it is needed (purse, car, backpack, desk). Um, also...don't hang out around pigs? or people that you know have swine flu...
So the other thing...the shot has been re-released...but like I said up until several days ago the testing was not finished. Sooooooo, maybe you should wait, or even better yet just don't get it. Remember what happened in 1976! I would hate to have a tragedy like that occur again, especially to my family. There are so many viruses out there, so many vaccinations, so much media and so much confusion. Listen to your heart. Think about a long long long long time ago...people could survive with out all these fancy-dancy medicines that we now have; think of the toxicity that these vaccinations have...I know they are not organic.
After I read the entire e-mail I called my mom. I told her that if Sarah it given the choice to have the vaccination for Swine flu do not let her get it. I figure that Sarah and I have been blessed with fairly strong immune systems and we don't need those toxins inside us (knock on wood...). I explained what I have explained to you through this blog to my mom. So, no shot for us girls! Damage estimations (deaths) are dropping daily, 250,000 - 500,000 die worldwide a year from the seasonal flu. The suggested number of deaths expected from swine flu is less than that. So, maybe we should pay attention to making sure we are feeling healthy going into the fall season.
Now, I am not a doctor, obviously, but I think that this is all very interesting. I want the best for all my family and friends. I know a majority of us are wicked healthy people so we really should not fret to much about this scare. I am not trying to sway your decision to get the vaccination or not to, I just think it is important that we all have our eyes open and see the whole picture and not just what we are learning from what the media has decided to serve us with our dinner.

P.S.
I blogged twice today so there is an earlier post below this one...if you are interested

Black Rock City, NV

Burning Man
Truck art installation
Broken bike rainbow art installation
Wooden temple art installation

Three years ago I sat in my introduction to Criminal Justice class; it was in a lecture hall. Never filled. Kenneth Peak was my professor, he liked to ramble on about cases that he used to have to deal with, normally I was pretty drawn to his lectures but on the first day (lets face it, no one REALLY pay attention) I found myself peeking around the class room seeing if there were any familiar faces: None. A young bright eyed boy sat next to me, he resembled a friend of my Eric Kertzmen, but it wasn't. He looked right at me and before I knew he had started to engage in conversation with me "So where ya' from?" I told him I was kind of from Crested Butte...but kind of a nomad. I returned the question to him like a hot potato and he said "Gerlach, Nevada. Betcha' don't know where that it!", he seemed so proud, "or what do you? I bet that you are one of those people that goes to burning man every year and you drive through my little hometown." I looked at him like -what the heck is this kid talking about?- First of all, I know Nevada is one big huge desert with random town sporadically spread across the vast oasis. Gerlach? Really that's a place? Could have fooled me. I can't honestly say I studied a map of Nevada in depth before I moved here, I am pretty sure I looked at an atlas once while my mom and I voyaged across Colorado, Utah and into Nevada. Didn't manage to pinpoint Gerlach. Next time. Burning Man? What? is that another name of a town? I guess that is the small hippy town of Crested Butte they do not serve us with the latest and greatest events of the world via the Crested Butte News, which mind you is only printed once a week so if the happens where really big normally we had already heard about it via the Internet and just read the paper for local gossip. "No" I kindly replied, "what is burning man?". My new friend started to fill me in with cut up facts and stories about the festivities. By the end of class I had learned NOTHING about what I should expect from CRJ 101, but rather what exactly burning man is. Still interested in this "Burning Man" I went home and googled it.
A year when by and Chelsey, Sami and myself headed down to Santa Cruz during labor day weekend. On Monday when we headed home on east bound I-80 we saw hundreds of cars, wanna-be cars, campers, buses, etc COVERED in a white dust like substance, as well as bikes and the funny little painting in the dirt of a couple triangles places just so to make what looked like a man up. Chelsey's reply "Burners". What the heck are 'burners', ohhh wait, then I made the connection. It was Burning man, the event that my friend in CRJ 101 class has enlightened me on. They were all headed home from the festivities.
Another year went by, you could start to notice the people who were 'burners' stocking up on supplies and headed out to Black Rock City. Water, water and more water. You'd see people in the malls buying goofy clothing, you'd make the connection through their purchases that they were either burners, or had a very ummmm odd sense of fashion. During one of my adventures to Barns and Noble I went on a specific search to find a book about BM. I found a lovely picture book by Jessica Bruder called the Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man. The pictures captured me right off the bat, the art work that is a part of Burning Man is amazingly creative and beautiful.
This week is burning man. Same ole', Same ole'. Folks in the store stocking up on supplies. Men in the fabric story buying blue fur (which matched his blue hair) and complimented his flame painted leather shoes nicely....eeerrrrr? My roommate informed me that he would be gone for 14 days away at burning man, my girls all got tickets last minute and decided to venture the 100 mile drive to Black Rock City. So that leave me here to blog about burning man. Try to give you some insight of what this crazy event/party/art show is!
First off, if you have been to Crested Butte and know what Vinotok is, you will understand burning man (Vinotok is a fall celebration where the 'grump' (normally a piece of art representing a..well...you guessed GRUMP. The grump goes to 'trial' and then he is sentenced to burn. When he burns he is bring all the prior negativity's of the year away with him. It turns into a large bonfire in the center of Crested Butte and people toss in objects that they feel they need to part with...and well..once that object is in the fire you are free of that thing that was detaining you from living life). Now, Burning Man is a festival which happens during the first week of September (normally, or at least since I have known about it) in the middle of a desert, right next to Gerlach. The desert goes from a population of 0 to a one of the 3/4th most populated places in the state of Nevada housing 50,000 people for the week (50,000 people is the limit). People set up extreme camps, normally in some figure of art, ride bicycles, be free spirited, wear costumes and forget about the every day American society. It is quite odd, yet interesting at the same time. It is a festivity that makes you interested because you can't truly experience what happens there until you actually go. I am only able to educated myself through stories from friends, news paper articles, books, and pictures. Black Rock City is made into the shape of a "C" once all the people have arrived over the first several days, circling "the man" in the center. Burners are given the chance to sign the man, and then the last night of the event the man is set on fire releasing all the wishes, or whatever, that was writing on the base over the course of the week. Sounds confusing right? I guess we just need to all go and experience it once in our lives so we get the true understanding and uniqueness of burning man.
Burning man actually started on a beach in San Francisco (Baker Beach) in the amazing year of 1986 by a name named Larry Harvey. It was supposed to be an "experimental community, which challenges its members to express themselves and rely on themselves to a degree which is not normally encountered in one's day to day life". Participants need not to follow any rules, but figure out how they can help and benefit from interactions with others. For example there is not money exchange in Black Rock City (expect for ice, water and coffee), everything must me done through trades with others. It was in 1990 when Burning man was moved from San Francisco to Black Rock City. Each year a new theme is picked for the celebration (this year I think it had something to do with bunnies or something, I'm not really sure), but, this way there is an overall wholeness to the event. People are encouraged to help make the overall burning man theme come alive many people do this through the camps that I mentioned earlier or through giant piece of art work (which are phenomenal! and the whole reason I would LOVE to go). I cannot express who innovative the art work is, incredible creative, I look at pictures and am constantly in awe. If you google "burning man art" and look through the thumbnail images of the installations which are there I am sure you will be amazed as well. Normally all go-ers are dressed in costume displaying a side of themselves which could normally not be accepted by the society any other day of the week. People plan their costumes months and months in advance. Shops around Reno always have 'burner' discounts and fashion shows to dish out fresh ideas to those in need of some inspiration; burning man is a big deal out here. Black Rock City is referred to as "the playa". Once burning man is complete, the playa becomes a completely desolate place again, just another vast oasis. "black is the new green" is a saying they have on their website, the committee members that work hard on putting together this event are strong on the idea of no pollution. I spoke to a women the other day in class who said her family goes camping on Black Rock a week after the events every year and never have they even found a single piece of trash from the event. I guess you could say this is kind of a hippie event, eh? Of course there is nothing wrong with that!
So hopefully, sometime in my life I will be able to afford the $300 ticket to Burning Man and go and see what all the fuss is about. Dress up in a costume and let the inner me emerge. Look at the art work and take in the site of the man. Play in the dust storms and the ashes. Ride a bike around and trade fellow neighbors for supplies. Be part of the 50,000 a year that venture out into the desert for a week of separation for the society and self liberation.

9.01.2009

All that sparkles is not gold

Same ole' working routine today. Wake up, get some coffee. Notice I am running behind...do the math to figure out EXACTLY how late I will be to work. Find my suit, febreeze my sweatshirt. Figure out my navy sweatpants have a glob of lotion on them. Dig through my fifty thousand other pairs of sweats looking for another navy pair, ahhh, I am in luck.
Rush to the kitchen. Banana, string cheese, apple, crackers...welp, guess this will have to work for lunch today. Oh wait...what is that? A Gatorade! Heck yes! Rushing out the front door I figure I probably have time to grab a Red Bull...just in case. Lock the door, hop in Syd. Please run okay for me today. Pull out of the drive way...Okay I THINK I have everything. Or at least I hope I do. Down the Tahoe Donner hill, bang a left at the light and I am on my way.

It seems like I am always in a rush to get where I am going. If I am not in a rush I am there WAY to early. Then it is just AWKWARD.

Finally, Tahoe City, phew. Right at the "Y". What?!?! Road construction? Okay, I guess this makes a good excuse for me being late. What, why am I making excuses, its the last week of work before THEY lay all the guards off. Ohhhh, got to love the end of the season.

It is a little bit of a drive down 89 before you can actually see the lake because it is barricaded by dense pine trees, or large houses that really serve no purpose because they are empty 360 out of 365 days a year. Awww, to have money, and the hunger to spend it. The lake pops into site, kind of like when you are watching the moon rise over the ocean. POP, just like a piece of toast. Today, it is empty. No early birds in site towing skiers or boarders behind them. The buoy field have gone from full like a grocery store parking lot to empty. A few random boats remain, they are probably the few locals that actually can afford to live on the lake. But soon like the rest will be exiting the water and put into storage until next summer. There is a slight breeze; is seems like this is a daily happening when a season change is upon us here in Tahoe. The sun peers out from behind the occasional cloud that disrupts the bright blue sky. The water is almost indescribable. I feel like I have never seen it like this before. The wind tosses the skin of the water just enough to create a glitter. Think of when you were little and you had a bottle of silver glitter, if you were like me, you were prone to pouring it all out in large pile and watching the different shimmers that bounced off only perceived by an adventurous eye and wild imagination. The lake today was a big pile of glitter. It is hard not to look over and be distracted while driving down the narrow two lane road. Faster than I thought again I found myself back in the dense pines and turning into the parking lot of work. Now, for the rest of the day I would be with the lake all day. There is something about the lake that is spectacular when you are driving, this site seems to only be captured during the time spent behind the wheel. When I stand on land it does not seems as special, or spectacular. Maybe this is just me being spoil and looking at something thousands of people venture to view during the summer months. This is my backyard. I take if for granted.