Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kayaking While Fat

I am spending 2 weeks in Alaska with my mother. This is the first time that I have traveled since 2000, simply because I was always too broke or too busy to travel. My mother is footing the bill (mostly so she can see her grand-daughter), and her husband has scheduled some interesting trips.

The third day of our trip was Kayaking. My sister, my brother-in-law, and I all took a charter trip up to the Columbia Glacier and kayaked around the iceburgs and hiked up to the glacier. It was wonderful.

As a 250 pound woman who is barely active, I thought this might be a good opportunity to rate the fat-friendliness of kayaking.

Benefits:

1. Indescribable beauty. The water, the iceburgs, the wildlife, the trees, the waterfalls, the glacier, and more were all so incredible to look at that I would gladly endure any physical hardships to see them again.

2. Core muscle workout! The motion required for paddling the kayak is very core-intensive, and a good core also keeps you from tipping into the freezing water.

3. Cardiovascular workout. Sometimes we had to paddle really fast to keep up, and hiking was good for the blood circulation (especially after sitting down for so long in the kayak) and hiking also got my lungs working.

4. Brain exercise. I paired up with my brother-in-law, and we had a hard time figuring out how to turn appropriately. In our defense, we had the longest boat, but we kept paddling left when we needed to go right, until we finally realized the reversals. Thinking on our toes kept us from getting "bored."

Fat Friendliness:

I would rate the activity as a 3 on the fat friendliness scale, but the guide was very fat friendly (and friendly in general).

Kayaking requires a lot of equipment; the boots, the rain pants, the life vests, the splash skirts, and of course the kayaks are all designed for people that are much smaller than I. My ample behind barely fit in the kayak, and I had to try several sets of gear on before I found something that fit.

Once in the boat, weight was not an issue. But, the gear isn't accomodating, a fatty can't get into the boat. Had I been much larger, I would have had to stay ashore.

Fitness Level Required:

This requires a moderate to high level of fitness. We rowed approximately 8 miles total, and there were several short but vigorous hikes. We also had to carry the kayaks to and from the water and they were very heavy.

Considerations

1. Price=$$$ The trip cost over $200 dollars per person, but that was after we arrived in Alaska and travelled from Anchorage to Valdez.

2. Gear; we had to buy some gear in advance, and if you are more the short and round type, you would have to find all of your own gear.

4. Danger; there is a possibility of capsizing in frigid glacier water. This worried me, but I was assured it was unlikely. The water we kayaked on was smooth and calm. There is also a possibility of an iceburg falling on you, but you have to be an idiot to stand under a melting iceburg.

5. No return; once you are off of the charter boat, you are stuck on the kayak tour until the charter ends (unless you are having an emergency). If you get bored, tired, or sore, that's too bad. You still have to go the 8 miles. Also, you may have to pee at glacier, which I hear from my sister is quite cold.

6. Seperation from partner; the reason that my brother-in-law and I shared a boat was because the guide recommended that partners don't row with each other. She called the kayaks "divorce boats." Sure enough, a couple that shared a boat were yelling at each other about how to turn and how fast to go. If you go with a partner, be willing to make a new friend.

7. Cold and wet; you are sitting in a boat below water level, and you are also de-kayaking at shore while still in the water. Add to that some splashy rowing techniques, and you are bound to get a bit wet. Since it is Alaska, and you are at a glacier, you will get cold.

8. Sack lunch; you pack in what you are going to eat, and it has to be easy to eat quickly, high in protein, and it has to stand up well to sitting in a plastic bag in a boat for several hours. Get ready for a soggy sandwich. Also, the charter boats all believe that banannas are bad luck, so don't bring any bananas.

9. Day after soreness; I woke up the next day feeling fine, but my brother-in-law and my sister were very sore. I worked as hard as them, but I might have a higher tolerance for pain.

Overall Experience:

Even though my list of considerations seems long, I really enjoyed this experience. I am going to look into kayaking opportunities in my area (mostly rivers and lakes, but still fun). I recommend that if you are interested you call ahead and discuss size limitations. I did not do this, but the team was very accomodating and given advance notice they might be able to come up with equipment that suits your needs.

I would love to do this every year when I visit my mommy, and maybe I can even convince her to come along.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Time and Travel

So I made it to Saturday (and beyond) and things are well. My daughter traveled beautifully, and everyone should be so lucky to travel with such a cute, well behaved baby. She didn't even fuss on take-offs or landings.

We almost didn't make it, though. My family and I arrived to the airport almost 2 hours early to procure seats next to each other. After checking in and going through security, we decided to eat. After we ate, we fed my baby, and then we had to go change the baby's diaper. Somehow, 2 hours had passed, and there was a call for an "immediate departure" from ABQ to SLC. My brother-in-law sprinted to the gate while my sister and I tried to run with a baby, carry-on luggage, a baby backpack, two travel pillows and a diaper bag. If that wasn't comical enough, my brother-in-law was at the gate, jumping up and down and waving his arms, as I was running with the carry-on. The carry-on started bouncing up and down and would not stabilize and roll on its wheels. I started shouting, "It won't roll! I can't get it to roll!" but my sister just kept running. We finally got to the gate and were the last to board the plane.

The other passengers were highly displeased, and some rolled their eyes at the sight of my daughter. Joke's on them, though, because we were happy and quiet.

We arrived in Salt Lake City just in time to change a diaper and catch the plane to Alaska. Again we were seated together, and that was a blessing. 5 hours flying with a wiggly baby is much easier when split between 3 people.

As we flew, the light increased, even though we were flying on the red-eye. The baby slept, and so did her uncle. My sister and I stayed awake and mocked the in flight movie--which we didn't watch--Fools Gold. It looked ridiculous.

We landed in Anchorage, it was very light outside and it was about 11:30. Needless to say, my internal clock is a bit off.

Coming soon to this site, pictures. For now check out my sister's site for some pics.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stressssss

Until a few days ago I had a rash on my eyelids. My freaking eyelids, folks. They were red and flaky and itchy and dry. It was gross. This rash was brought on by stress. I was finishing up grades for seniors, I had just accepted the task of grading papers for a class that never got a teacher (way to go school-I-used-to-work-for), we decided to move, I was applying for jobs, and I am flying to Alaska to visit my mom for two weeks.

I had a bit on my plate. This all piled up inside of me and exited through my eyelids. A week ago my eyelids began to heal. Then a few days later my former employers called me, and sure as shit, my eyelids started to itch while I was on the phone! Then my new employer(?) called me, and my eyelids cleared up completely.

Whew.

Now, it's t-minus two days until we move/I leave for Alaska, and I'm not quite packed yet (but much closer thanks to my sister and her husband!)so I can't sleep. I feel like I need to be doing stuff, but I am paralyzed. (Also, I'm scared to be alone, even though I am a grown woman.) Frustration central!

As soon as I get to Saturday, I will be okay, but I have to make it two more days. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Drive-Thru

Yesterday, hubby and I were on the way home from a doctor's appointment. We decided to drop of his scrips at Walgreen's via drive-thru. This has always been a pleasant and speedy experience for me.

There are two lanes for the pharmacy, and they are for dropping off or picking up scrips only. There was a car in the right lane and a car pulling away in the left lane. I pulled into the left lane for faster service. What usually happens when you pull into the right lane is you either call for the pharmacist or you send your information through the bank-chute-vacuum thingy. When you pull in the left lane, you are closest to the pharmacist and therefore they just open a drawer and you give your scrips that way.

Hubby and I pulled up and looked into the glass. There were two people there, a woman and a slightly nervous looking man. Turns out the young man was in training, evidenced by his hesitation and the woman's constant assistance. No problem, I thought, and I asked to fill one prescription and wanted to know if our insurance covered the other one. While the trainee was collecting our information and looking it up in the computer, the buzzer from the other lane buzzed.

Apparently the people in the right lane did not know the procedure, and as a result, they had not yet been helped. After the trainer answered the buzz, the woman driving the other car shouted...

"I have to tell you something. We were here FIRST!"

At that point the trainee told us our insurance would cover the prescriptions, and those would be ready in about an hour. We drove away.

I don't know why, but I found the other lady's response odd. Maybe it was her tone, which is hard to convey here. It was a tone of both entitlement and constant denial. It reminded me of a 6th grader. Maybe it was the way that the passengers in that car were throwing dirty looks at my car, even though we did not know that we were "cutting."

This situation was strange, but I know that it is not the first or last time that a trainee slowed things down. And I also know that it is ok, because we all need time to learn how to do our jobs. So I raise my glass to the trainee, for enduring what I am sure was a litany of complaints that day. You will soon be so fast that you will forget the grumpy lady in the white car.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Old Music

Tonight we were listening to the Flobots while we tinkered around the house. The horns in "Handlebars" reminded me of Cake. I jumped on iTunes to look for new Cake music.

Right on the first page was an announcement that iTunes is now carrying Radiohead albums. As a recent convert to the Radiohead fanbase, I began browsing the catalogue. There is a Best Of album for 20 bucks, but I'm not sure that I want to spend that on a download right now. (For those of you who know Radiohead, give me your opinion on this matter.)

After my detour into Radiohead country, I went back to my original search, and I found a new album by Cake. It was only 8 bucks, so I bought it without even sampling any of the songs. I love Cake (music and dessert). We played the new album through, and the old album (Fashion Nugget) came on. I was going to change it to something else, but I found that Fashion Nugget is as great now as it was when I first bought it in high school.

I am moving now, and as a result I will soon be going through everything, including my music library. I am looking forward to finding more "gems" from my past.

(Cross-posted on my MySpace page)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fruit

Yesterday I went to the produce store. I walked, so I arrived close to the close of the store. I hurried around, trying to make healthy, frugal selections. I had a basket full of fruit and vegetables. Normally this amount of produce runs me about 25 bucks. I forgot that gas prices have skewed food prices, and my total was $35. Normally, I would just put the money on my debit card and not worry about it. But for some reason, I decided to only bring cash, and I only had $30.

This vexed the cashier (this man always seems vexed though), as he thought he was going to have to re-ring every item (minus a few) for a total of $30. He called over the manager, a man who has seen me come to that store for 7 years, and asked for help. The manager just waved it off, and said it was no big deal.

He gave me $5 worth of fruit and vegetables. That is a lot, especially to many people with food insecurity. As a pay it back, I am taking $5 to the produce stand, and I am also going to pay it forward by donating to a pantry this week.

Humanity and kindness, yay!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I get "letters."

Okay, I really get forwards. Here's a gem...

Can this be so???
I STRONGLY URGE each one of you to repost this as many times as you can!
Each opportunity that you have to send it to a friend or media outlet...do it!
A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine that America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves.

Pause a moment, reflect back. These events are actual events from history. They really happened!!!

Do you remember?

1. 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by Muslim
male ext remist between the ages of 17 and 40.
2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
3. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
4. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
5. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
6. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille L auro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
7. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

8. In 1988 , Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
9. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
10. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim male
extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
11. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles
to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed
into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the
passengers. Thousands of people were killed by Muslim male extremists
between the of 17 and 40.
12. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.
13. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by-- you
guessed it-- Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

No, I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you? So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people...

Absolutely No Profiling!

They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winner and former GovernorJoe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone lest they be guilty of profiling.

According to The Book of Revelations:

The Anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, he will destroy everything.

And Now:

For the award winning Act of Stuidity Of all times the People of America want to elect, to the most Powerfulposition on the face of the Planet --The Presidency of the United states of America
A Muslim

Male

Extremist

Between

the ages

of 17 and 40.

Have the American People completely lost their Minds, or just their Power of Reason??? I'm sorry but I refuse to take a chance on the 'unknown' candidate Let's send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds and other stupid attorneys along with Federal Justices that want to thwart common sense, feel ashamed of themselves -- if they have any such sense.

As the writer of the award winning story 'Forrest Gump' so aptly put it,

'Stupid Is As Stupid Does.'
(Spelling and grammar is as received, formatting changed to save space on my blog.)

As Teh Portly Dyke would say, "Hey, dude, your privilege is showing."

So after I read this piece of trash, I moved my cursor over the "Delete" button. I generally don't look at forwards, but I checked this one for some reason. I decided to move my cursor to "Reply All." This list was about 24 people long. Hopefully one person reads what I responded.

Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He is a Christian, as evidenced by the recent "scandal" concerning Rev. Jermiah Wright.

And don't forget the other terrorists this nation has seen--Ted Kaczynski , Timothy McViegh, Terry Nichols, Eric Robert Rudolph. These were all white males between the ages of 17 and 60.

"Name Changed" :)


I didn't feel the need to point out that these men called themselves Christians. That is neither here nor there. My point is that terrorism can come from any idiot, and it is shameless to try to (inaccurately) depict Sen. Obama as a terrorist.

This act may be small, but I think that spreading a little knowledge around might help. Or maybe I'll just piss off conservatives who happened upon my email address through my loose acquaintance with them. Who knows?

Update: I get replies...
At least those white males were not in a position to raise your taxes, sign environmental and gun legislation, appoint Supreme Court Justices, or other court appointees. THANKS!


Nevermind that the first email didn't mention any of that business. Why do I bother? This is the dangerous, thoughtless rhetoric that destroys nations.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Moving...Part I

Who knows how long this series will be, but we are moving.

My husband has been offered a new job in my hometown, and so we are going. I applied for a job at the local high school, and I was originally not offered (I only have 2 years experience, the other applicants had at least 10), but I received a call today with an offer for a recently vacated position. Things are looking up.

As for leaving this house, we are having some issues. My husband and I are new to the living minimally idea, and as such we have been slowly letting go of material possessions. However, it takes a grand event in our lives (birth of a child, moving) for us to truly purge. We have been giving things away, selling things, and tossing things, all to minimize the effort in moving. Just the other day, my husband took a load to the dump that embarrassed both of us. We couldn't believe that after the give-aways and the sales, we still had that much shit to throw away. Most of it was "yard debris" but it was still appalling.

We are taking this opportunity to turn over a new leaf. We will no longer allow our possessions to posses us. As a family, we are committed to using less.

Let's see what the move brings.

About Me

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.