Monday, August 31, 2009

12,200 Ft.

More than two years ago when I first attempted to climb Mt. Adams, I had no idea what to expect. I'd stared out at the various peaks in WA with so much wonderment and curiosity, and they tugged at me. I didn't have any concept of what it would take to climb a mountain, but I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to try, at least. I didn't own a tent, or a sleeping bag. I'd never used crampons or an ice axe. And I didn't care. I just wanted to give it a shot. To know what it felt to stand on top of a mountain.

Yeah well, it was really effing hard. And because it was early June, it was really, really cold. During that climb, I was scared most of the time and it was the toughest mental game of my life to tell myself to keep going. We didn't summit. We made it to the false summit, or Piker's Peak - which is about 600 feet from the top - and we were forced to turn around due to weather. I have to be honest, there was a small part of me in that moment that was glad. It was over. I just had to get back down.

Two weekends ago I stood on the top of Mt. Adams. Bess, Tyson and I started climbing around 4am with headlamps. I hadn't slept a wink due to nerves and I was scared thinking back to two years ago, wondering if by some chance I had gained some climbing confidence since that time.

Sunrise on Mt. St. Helens:

Mt. Hood behind Bess:

Climbing in late August proved to be significantly different. So much of the trail that was covered in snow before was now melted out. It was warmer. Less windy. And I dunno, it wasn't my first climb anymore. It took us seven hours to reach the summit and as I took my last few steps I felt the tears well up in my throat.

Mt. Rainier from the summit:

After a little lunch and a few pictures, we headed back down. Four and a half hours later we reached the car and I was pretty certain my feet were going to fall off.

It was grueling and exhausting, but also rewarding in some odd, torturous way. I'm glad we did it, but I can't say I had an amazing time. I guess I can check it off the list though, which is pretty fantastic.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Check out this fantastic Seattle non-profit I just learned about: Girls On The Run.

To educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.

Girls on the Run is a curriculum based, experiential learning program that utilizes the power of running to provide 3rd-5th grade girls the tools to:
  • Celebrate their bodies,
  • Honor their voices,
  • Recognize their gifts and,
  • Activate their power!

What a great way to get young women involved in living an active and healthy lifestyle at an early age. I love anything having to do with preventative healthy living tactics! Plus running rules.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Health Care.

This is a great article written by Mr. Barack Obama himself. I think its really hard when we are constantly flooded with messages and warned to be ready for what is most certainly going to happen if we make health care universal - crappy healthcare. The loudest voices are heard and the fear spreads like wildfire. The bottom line is we need reform.

Op-Ed Contributor

Why We Need Health Care Reform

Published: August 15, 2009

OUR nation is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care in America. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices. What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.

These are people like Lori Hitchcock, whom I met in New Hampshire last week. Lori is currently self-employed and trying to start a business, but because she has hepatitis C, she cannot find an insurance company that will cover her. Another woman testified that an insurance company would not cover illnesses related to her internal organs because of an accident she had when she was 5 years old. A man lost his health coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because the insurance company discovered that he had gallstones, which he hadn’t known about when he applied for his policy. Because his treatment was delayed, he died.

I hear more and more stories like these every single day, and it is why we are acting so urgently to pass health-insurance reform this year. I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.

There are four main ways the reform we’re proposing will provide more stability and security to every American.

First, if you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of high-quality, affordable coverage for yourself and your family — coverage that will stay with you whether you move, change your job or lose your job.

Second, reform will finally bring skyrocketing health care costs under control, which will mean real savings for families, businesses and our government. We’ll cut hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies that do nothing to improve care and everything to improve their profits.

Third, by making Medicare more efficient, we’ll be able to ensure that more tax dollars go directly to caring for seniors instead of enriching insurance companies. This will not only help provide today’s seniors with the benefits they’ve been promised; it will also ensure the long-term health of Medicare for tomorrow’s seniors. And our reforms will also reduce the amount our seniors pay for their prescription drugs.

Lastly, reform will provide every American with some basic consumer protections that will finally hold insurance companies accountable. A 2007 national survey actually shows that insurance companies discriminated against more than 12 million Americans in the previous three years because they had a pre-existing illness or condition. The companies either refused to cover the person, refused to cover a specific illness or condition or charged a higher premium.

We will put an end to these practices. Our reform will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of your medical history. Nor will they be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. And we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because they get sick.

Most important, we will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups, preventive care and screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer on the front end. It makes sense, it saves lives and it can also save money.

This is what reform is about. If you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform. If you have health insurance, we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care you need. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. You will not be waiting in any lines. This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don’t believe anyone should be in charge of your health care decisions but you and your doctor — not government bureaucrats, not insurance companies.

The long and vigorous debate about health care that’s been taking place over the past few months is a good thing. It’s what America’s all about.

But let’s make sure that we talk with one another, and not over one another. We are bound to disagree, but let’s disagree over issues that are real, and not wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that anyone has actually proposed. This is a complicated and critical issue, and it deserves a serious debate.

Despite what we’ve seen on television, I believe that serious debate is taking place at kitchen tables all across America. In the past few years, I’ve received countless letters and questions about health care. Some people are in favor of reform, and others have concerns. But almost everyone understands that something must be done. Almost everyone knows that we must start holding insurance companies accountable and give Americans a greater sense of stability and security when it comes to their health care.

I am confident that when all is said and done, we can forge the consensus we need to achieve this goal. We are already closer to achieving health-insurance reform than we have ever been. We have the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association on board, because our nation’s nurses and doctors know firsthand how badly we need reform. We have broad agreement in Congress on about 80 percent of what we’re trying to do. And we have an agreement from the drug companies to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. The AARP supports this policy, and agrees with us that reform must happen this year.

In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain. But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing. If we maintain the status quo, we will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day. Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Our deficit will continue to grow. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against sick people.

That is not a future I want for my children, or for yours. And that is not a future I want for the United States of America.

In the end, this isn’t about politics. This is about people’s lives and livelihoods. This is about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future, and whether we will be able to look back years from now and say that this was the moment when we made the changes we needed, and gave our children a better life. I believe we can, and I believe we will.

Barack Obama is the president of the United States.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Big Bro.

Happy Birthday, brother Rob. Hope you have a great day!

You are a great dad, hubby, son and brother. I'm glad you're in my life!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seattle Urban Farm Company.

Aylin and I spent some time working for the Seattle Urban Farm Company on Monday night, in exchange for some free delicious veggies plucked straight from their plants. A rough gig really considering its super fun getting dirty and working with your hands. We tied back tomato plants and learned the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants.

Aylin, dwarfed by the Indeterminite tomato plants.

And after a couple of hours, I loaded up my bag with:
Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes
and a cucumber

As a result, I've eaten like a Queen the past 24 hours. I managed to cook up some brown rice pasta and include the basil and tomatoes for dinner last night. And here's a look at the breakfast of champions from this morning - boiled kale with toast and an over-easy egg. Yum. Why haven't I cooked all summer?! I'm back on the wagon...

Monday, August 17, 2009

No medal for fourth.

We were invited to Olympic Village early this year, and even had the opportunity to weigh in on decisions regarding some of the events, and rules and regulations by the Olympic committee. It was futile however, considering our team's fourth place finish.

Six teams of four competed in six events:

Blindfolded Row Boat to Temptation Island (floating dock) and back - timed.
Air Matress relay.
Football Toss.
Holy Boards
Beer Pong
And most exciting, Flippy Cup (Known as Flip Cup to Minnesotans).

High points:
My belly flop during the row boat event.
Beating the home team - TKB - in Holy Boards.
Taking second in beer pong.
Making it to the championship flippy cup match.

Low Points:
Leaving prelims and heading into tournament play of Holy Boards in first place...only to finish third.
Me choking on a gulp of water while swimming during the air mattress relay.
Our teammate, Vince, throwing the football at a docked boat instead of into the hands of our teammate. Twice in a row. And I'm pretty sure he played college football. Possibly as a QB.
And losing the championship flip cup match.

(High Point)

The fun part was knowing nearly everyone participating in the games this year. In 2008, Tyson and I qualified, but didn't know many of the other Olympians. We still had a great time and therefore, this year was remarkably even more fun.

In a last minute team decision, we decided to bring some wigs in an attempt to plus our uniforms. Who knew they would become a massive hit amongst the athletes! I'm pretty sure everyone wore a wig at some point during the games and well on into the evening. They will now be required for certain off-season training events.

Thanks to Rob and Claude for yet another flawlessly executed Games. And I look forward to hosting our very own tournament for my birthday in October = Cornhole. Yep, bringing a little bit of the Mid-west to the Pacific Northwest!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Let's see, Free (suite) tickets to Depeche Mode? Yes. I'll take one. Regardless of the fact that I needed to download a bunch of their songs to actually remember who they are, Tyson was in town and a free show with Rob and Claude would be fun no matter what.

And actually, I know a few more songs that I thought =

Personal Jesus
People are People
Policy of Truth
Enjoy the Silence
Just Can't Get Enough

Songs that sent me swirling back to the days of Cheap Skate and circling round and round trolling for cute boys. The 80's! Check out the star-shaped guitar!

They put on a good show...but didn't play much from the list above. They didn't even play "Personal Jesus" until the SECOND encore. Depeche Mode is a new band in a new era, and have left the 80's behind.