Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're back

We returned late Sunday from a great visit to Tulsa where we spent time with family, Friends and ate at our favorite restaurants. My restaurant visits included 4 visits to Taco Bueno, 2 to Coney-Islander, 2 visits to Whataburger, Mazzios, Charlestons, The Hideaway, Mr. Goodcents, Thai Siam, Los Cabos, Casa Laredo, Savoy, First Watch and Senior Tequilas. All the eating out we accomplished left very little time for eating home cooked food but we did manage to eat well on Christmas eve, Christmas day and the day following Christmas. Each Christmas brings more joy as we watch our kids' excitement over the holiday and the fun it brings.
Highlights of our trip included the Christmas Train with Grandad and MeMaw, watching the Tulsa Oilers with Dad and Sean, Seeing the Rockettes with Mom, Dad, Sarah, and Sean. We also spent lots of time relaxing, playing with the kids and seeing friends. Though our trip was fun, we are glad to be back home where we can get into our routine so things aren't too hectic. Part of being back into our routine will include eating healthier and working out since my project zero weigh in is next week.
Below are some good pictures from out trip.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Project 10

One of the great perks of working for a large company is that we have a wellness coordinator working to help employees stay motivated to mainain good physical health. Obviously this only makes sense for the company as it keeps health care costs down and most likely improves productivity. Our wellness coordinator does a great job of continually offering programs designed to motivate the office drones. The program offered during the holidays is called project zero. The idea of project zero is keeping weight off over the holidays which I never really thought was a big deal. I'm not sure what the official numbers are but the average american probably gains 5-10 pounds during this time of year, feasting on sweets and treats.

Project zero consists of a weigh in before thanksgiving and another weigh in following christmas with the goal of maintaining the same weight. I decided to participate in project zero two years ago, a year when I returned home to Tulsa for the christmas holiday. I didn't set out to maintain my weight not really thinking that I could gain too much in such a short time. My motivation to maintain my weight wasn't a high priority since it would all come off with spring mountian biking. At the final weigh in, I found out that I had actually gained ten pounds. You may be thinking, better try harder next year fat ass. So what did I do? I decided not to participate in the project zero the following year.

Since we were headed to Tulsa for Christmas this year for almost two weeks, I decided it best to make another run at project zero and actually try to maintain my weight. Of course, incentives to maintain your weight are added, which include cold hard cash. So far, I am ahead of my previous showing in the program but staying in Tulsa for so long is very trying. I have been hitting the gym here almost every day, which is killing me since I hate gyms. I'm almost certain that I have gained at least a few pounds if not five so far but I have hope that any gain can be lost by serious bike riding prior to the final weigh in. With plenty more Taco Bueno to eat in the coming days, I better stick to my daily gym routine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Boys night out

Last night S&G's mom hosted her annual cookie exchange/party so that Sean and I could go see the Utah Grizzlies play hockey. Sean and I have been to numerous hockey games and have enjoyed many nights hanging out together. Last night was another good time, Sean was well behaved and watched almost 5 minutes of the actual game. Sean filled the rest of the night with eating, walking around the arena and watching the zamboni's work their magic. A few highlights are:

As I drove to the hockey arena, we got behind a nasty truck that was spewing exhaust. Not long after I began to smell the exhaust, Sean asked me "what that smell daddy"? Instead of answering, I asked him what it smelled like. His reply, "the hairport". Ahhhhhhhh, yes the airport does smell like exhaust. Too funny how kids pick up and associate things like this.

Attending the hockey game isn't complete without consumption of a churro. Most of us probably remember eating churros as kids at similair events, I remember lusting over them at Disneyland. Sean wanted a churro following his approval of the zamboni's ice cleaning during the 1st intermission. So we took a walk around looking for the elusive churro. And they were elusive last night, as we were told by numerous vendors they sold out and were making more. We happened to walk up to the Chili Verde vendor cart as they were putting the fininshing touches on another batch of churros. This allowed Sean the opportunity to view the science of rolling deep fried bread in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. After getting his churro, we returned to our seats where Sean devoured his treat. Following this, Sean went to the empty row in front of ours and proceeded to be "churro guy" for the rest of the 2nd period. I loved nothing more than watching his little imagination run wild as he rolled churros in the cinnamon/sugar mixture then took my order followed by my money. It's so much fun to play along with games like this. I can only hope that Sean's bright future holds a career as a "churro guy", cause that deep fried goodness is in high deman here in Utah.

The last period began with Grizzbee, the team mascot walking aroung the stands to greet fans. As usual, Sean got very excited to see Grizzbee and wanted to talk to him. We waited patiently for Grizzbee to make his way to our section as he seemed to be headed our way. Things didn't pan out as hoped and Sean was disappointed when he changed course. Sean asked if he could go see Grizzbee so I gave him the green light. As Grizzbee charged on through the stands, as did Sean, shouting GRIZZBEE as loud as he could every 5 feet. All this was done simultaneous to his turning around to check my position, smiling and waving each time he saw me, making sure I didn't leave him behind. Sean finally reached Grizzbee for a big hug and at least ten high fives while numerous people in the crowd laughed at his cute pursuit of the big bear (I was dying laughing at his cuteness during all this).

And that was our fun filled evening that was topped off with our arrival at home to way too many cookies.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hot and Cold

The weather in Salt Lake has finally turned somewhat cold and we now have a little snow on the ground. I didn't ride my bike into work on Monday because a storm was supposed to occur throughout the day and riding in falling snow sounded like a good way to get hurt. I pondered riding to work today but backed out using slick spots on the road as an excuse. The drive to work this morning presented very little snow/ice on the roads and left me thinking I should have ridden my bike.
During my walk inside, I saw one of my co-workers who knows of my bike commute. She asked how I was doing, so I told her that I was thinking to myself what a wuss I was for not riding to work. Her reply and look on her face left me wondering if I am totally crazy because of my love for challenging adverse weather conditions.
While I don't enjoy being extremely cold or hot, I can tolerate extremes with proper gear and don't much mind them when doing something I really enjoy. Each morning on my ride to work, I usually start out cold repeatedly telling myself that it will warm up soon enough (5 minutes into my ride). I often refer to my theory on comfort during snow skiing. There are times when you may be chilled while snow skiing but overheating during an outing must be avoided at all costs.
So back to my original question; am I crazy for pushing myself in weather others won't even bother peeking outside for? During the hot Utah summers, I truly enjoy the challenge of mountain biking in 100+ degree heat. Some of my biggest smiles during winter occur while standing on a ridge, snow and wind whipping about, picking my next line. And now I've reverted to a pervese feeling of exctiement when my knees, ears and face are numb from the start of my bike commute. I truly don't care to understand my motivation and desire to challenge such conditions but only hope that my drive to bike commute during cold weather endures the long, dark winter.
On another note, the weather pattern in Salt Lake has finally made a shift with weather forecasts calling for storms to start moving. I'm sure many other skiers can understand the giddy feeling I have when seeing said weather forecast. For now, I took a photo from my office showing the latest snow storm and will continue diligently watching weather forecasts.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Picture Stealer

Postings lately have been slim thanks to the fact the winter has set in which for some reason means my camera comes out less. When it does make an appearance, I usually manage to capture something pretty good and last weekend provided no letdown. The letdown came the following day when I saw that S&G's mom stole my golden picture and posted on her blog. So instead of posting my great picture I will put a link to it here, and post a good summer shot of the picture stealer and Gracie.

Though it's supposed to be winter, the weather in salt lake has been incredibly mild allowing for lots of biking opportunities. I am still riding my bike into work and have yet to break out my winter biking gloves. I have only ridden one day thus far when it was cold enough to freeze my water bottle (that's a good indicator of damn cold). The Thanksgiving weekend weather even allowed my brother and I to tow Sean behind the tandem. We made a trip up to the market and had a good time cruising on the tandem. Unfortunately, we dont have a picture to prove that Lowell actually pedaled. Obviously I'm enjoying the nice weather but it needs to snow.