Monthly Archives: June 2010

24 Jun

It’s a Long Story

Posted by on June 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm

My father is in his 60’s but he definitely doesn’t have the mentality of the typical 60 year old. A few weeks ago he expressed interest in getting a longboard, which is basically a longer faster version of a skateboard that’s meant for speedy cruising rather than doing tricks. We were all a little surprised that my dad wanted a longboard but not too surprised. After all, he is into paragliding and long-distance running and he claims that he would get a tattoo and pierce his ears if he didn’t have to look presentable for clients.

Jas with his new Never Summer longboard

Jas with his new Never Summer longboard, the board he finally FINALLY decided he wanted.

My family collectively decided that a longboard would be a great Father’s Day gift for my Daddy-O. Since Jason used to be into skateboarding when he was a young fry he was nominated to pick out this present. This afforded me the chance to scheme up a subplot of my own. For years Jason has said he would love to try longboarding if only he had someone to go cruising with. Now that my dad would have a board, and thus Jason would have a boarding buddy, I decided that it was time to get Jason his long-desired longboard. So when we arrived at Milo, our favorite board store, ready to shop for my dad I informed Jason that in addition to picking out a board for my father he would be picking out one for himself. He was surprised but very excited about this plan. We spent an hour and a half perusing Milo’s boards and changed our minds over and over again about which ones we liked best. But eventually we came to a decision… mostly because the store was closing so we had no choice.

Although I am still a very non-graceful learner

Although I am still a very non-graceful learner, Jason is the one that has already taken a spill. I guess even the klutzy get lucky sometimes.


Girl's rock! I've already named my board Blue Fin. It's an Arbor Fish Koa and it is awesome!

Despite how long it had taken Jason to choose a board for himself that night, by the next morning he already had plans to go back to Milo to exchange that board he had so laboriously selected. Yes, Jason’s decision making skills are on par with a politician’s. What I didn’t know was that Jason was not just vacillating, he was also scheming. He bought me an early birthday present when he went back to Milo to swap boards: a longboard of my own. He kept this board a secret for a few days until we were going to take his board out on its maiden voyage. That’s when he pulled my new board out of the dark recesses of his extremely chaotic closet. I was completely shocked! I’m pretty good at sniffing out Jason plots but I didn’t see this one coming.

All but one of my siblings came to my parent

All but one of my siblings came to my parent's house on Father's Day. We had a lot of fun riding around the neighborhood lake on our respective vehicles.

My dad the sk8er boi

My dad the sk8er boi

Jason and I have already taken out boards out a few times; they are a blast! We especially enjoyed going longboarding with my dad on Father’s day. Since all the members of my family were in on the gift many of them brought their own wheeled contraptions to my parent’s house knowing that my dad would probably want to try his new board out. My brother brought his waveboard, my sister and her fiancé brought their skateboards, and my nephew Jadon even brought his scooter. Another nephew, Miles, didn’t bring a traveling device of his own but he was fascinated by the longboards. He was very eager to ride them and we had a hard time getting him to get off even when he scraped up his knee and elbow.


Don't the boys look cool with their board props?

What a peculiar boarding gang we made! I’m sure we got some strange looks from the people walking by our odd group. It’s not every day you see a cluster of young kids riding scooters and scooting on boards alongside adults that look far too old for such hooligan activities.

Miles became an instant fan of the boards. He did

Miles became an instant fan of the boards. He didn't even notice when he scraped up his knee a bunch while he was riding one. He was having too much fun to pay attention to a little bleeding.

My sister Kristen and her fiance John held hands as

My sister Kristen and her fiance John held hands as they skateboarded. It was very cute but I am quite certain that if I tried to do something similar with Jason our romantic cruise would end abruptly when I fell off my board and onto the pavement.

I should warn the unsuspecting that the desire to longboard is like an insidious disease that spreads with shocking rapidity. My dad simply mentioned that he wanted a longboard and then all of a sudden Jason and I had one. And the boards continue to mysteriously mushroom among my family members; my sister’s fiancé John is now toying with the idea of getting one and I’m sure if Miles didn’t have a paranoid mother he would find some way to obtain one as well.

16 Jun

Wicked Cool Scotts

Posted by on June 16, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Jason and I went to the Utah Scottish Festival & Highland Games last week. We are both part Scottish but that had little to do with why I wanted to attend. Why then you ask? Come on, a bunch of tough guys running around in kilts and chucking things. Need I say more? Seriously people, it’s a no-brainer. Although I am almost completely kidding, I must say that it was cool to see so many men proudly dressed in their kilts.

We had a great time at the festival even though the weather was less than accommodating. It had been raining all day and it was uncharacteristically cold for the middle of June but we weren’t about to let the downpour and chilly environment stop us from going. With some winter boots, rain jackets, scarves, umbrellas, and hand warmers we were ready to face whatever the storm threw at us. Luckily, the weather turned out to be more cooperative than expected. The rain subsided for the evening soon after we arrived so we only got sprinkled on for a few minutes. Also, tents had been erected everywhere to keep the damp out and they did a pretty good job.

The Wicked Tinkers were fantastic. I had a great time listening to their

The Wicked Tinkers were fantastic. I loved their performance.

We spent the evening perusing the booths of vendors, which sold the Scottish and the not-so-Scottish, chowing down on some fish and chips, listening to all the clans present themselves, and watching the Wicked Tinkers. The Wicked Tinkers are a tribal Celtic band. I know you are now envisioning a boring and dignified group of musicians performing to a blasé crowd but you are way off. They were all decked out in their kilts, leather jackets, and muscleman tank tops as they rocked hardcore on bagpipes, tribal drums, didgeridoos, and Irish Horns. The audience was jumping around and dancing like they were the hottest thing to hit the stage since Kenny G. I must admit, it seemed a little bizarre at first how crazy the spectators became over a bagpipe-wielding kilt-adorned group of middle-aged men but Jason and I were quickly on board. They were energetic and captivating and the ancient melodies they produced were primal and pleasing. It was nearly impossible not to clap or tap along. We really enjoyed ourselves and the rest of the onlookers obviously did too.

I would recommend Scottish festivals to anyone that finds joy in men donning skirts unabashedly, loves to gobble sheep stomach filled with various organs, or likes to get down to a good jig.

9 Jun

Post-conception Misconceptions

Posted by on June 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I feel like I am constantly surrounded by pregnant women; many of the ladies around here seem like they are in a state of perpetual pregnancy. While I have as of yet refused to join their ranks I do have a few words of wisdom to offer them, not as mother but as a food scientist.

Pregnant women seem to have a lot of misconceptions about their condition. I’m not sure if these erroneous beliefs originate from incorrect information passed down from mothers and grandmothers or if they simply blossom out of women’s desires to take advantage of their situation. But I do know that I’ve listened to far too many mothers-to-be talk about how hungry they are when they are only 5 or 6 weeks along and I’ve heard lots of ladies justify eating ridiculously unhealthy and calorie laden meals by stating that old adage “I’m not eating for one; I’m eating for two.” I’ve held my tongue loads of times when expecting women have told me that they can’t exercise because they are pregnant but I can keep my big mouth shut no longer.

Okay ladies, it’s time to get your information straight. Disregard the phony-bologna you heard from your Aunt Gertrude and forget your longing to just have one time in your life when you can eat whatever the heck you want without consequence. Despite all that wishful thinking pregnancy isn’t actually a good excuse to be a lazy piggy. Let me tell you the facts so the next time one of you pregos try to give me the rundown on why you need to consume 4,000 calories a day and do nothing but watch TV you will understand why I’m not buying it.

As a food scientist, and someone with years of experience in the dietary supplement field, I understand nutritional needs during pregnancy very well. I’ve even developed prenatal supplement formulas for companies I’ve worked for. So don’t discount what I’m telling you now simply because I haven’t experienced pregnancy myself. I’m guessing most of your OBGYN doctors are men and therefore have never been, nor will ever be, pregnant. Yet you take their advice. Why? Because reason and science do not require firsthand experience; if they did, life would be our only teacher and text books would be completely obsolete. The facts are the facts and I know the fact so let’s go through the basics of caloric needs during pregnancy and how they relate to nutrient needs and then let’s cover what is a healthy amount of exercise when you are expecting.


I'd hate to see what the offspring of that woman would look like. Here's Jason illustrating my post with more than his usual level of idiocy. He was sad that I didn't have a moo moo for him to wear.

First a reminder: pregnancy is composed of three trimesters – if that is news to any of you we have bigger problems than you eating too many Doritos. Nutrient and caloric needs vary from trimester to trimester so I’m going to break it all down for you.

Let’s start with the first trimester. Nutrition is absolutely critical during the first trimester of pregnancy because this is when many of the baby’s organs and body parts form. The nutrient status of a mother during this period can have lifelong ramifications for her offspring. That’s why it is imperative that all women in their childbearing years supplement with folic acid and that any woman attempting to get pregnant take a daily prenatal vitamin. In a woman that is nutrient deficient by the time she realizes she is pregnant, and takes steps to correct those deficiencies, irreversible damage may have already been done to her baby. It’s not worth the risk ladies. Be responsible and make sure you are getting adequate nutrients whether you see a baby in your near future or not. After all, life is full of surprises.

Despite the extra nutrients necessary in the first trimester women need virtually NO extra calories during this time. Yes, that is correct. So if you are 5 weeks along, and just found out you were expecting, don’t come crying to me about how you’re hungry constantly because you don’t need any additional calories yet – it’s all in your head. The mind truly must be a powerful thing because countless barely pregnant women have told me their hunger woes. Yes, I am rolling my eyes just thinking about it.

Since you don’t need any extra food during the first few months of pregnancy you should only gain 2 to 4 pounds and no, that 2 does not have a 0 after it. By the beginning of the second trimester the fetus only weighs about 1 oz. Yeah, not exactly what one would call a calorie demanding mass.

In the second trimester the fetus bulks up from 1 ounce to about 2 or 3 pounds and then, during the third trimester, it does the majority of its growing and weight accumulation. Surely, since the baby is rapidly expanding women need extra calories during their second and third trimesters, right? Absolutely, but only about 300 additional calories a day are required. This may sound substantial but it’s really not. You can get 300 calories from 2 cups of low-fat milk and a slice of bread …or a microscopic potato chip crumb. Pregnant women should put on approximately 0.75-1.0 pound a week in their second and third trimesters bringing the grand total of weight gain for the entire pregnancy to about 25-35 pounds. It should be noted that while additional weight gain is generally not healthy it is better than not enough weight gain. The wellbeing of your baby should always be your top priority so skimping on your food because you are trying to watch your figure is an absolutely ridiculous thing to do during pregnancy.

Unlike energy needs, which don’t change too much during pregnancy, nutrient needs increase by quite a bit: 20-100% depending on the nutrient. This means that pregnant women need to be more conscientious about what they’re eating, not less so, in order to fulfill their nutrient requirements. Translation: consume more nutrient dense foods not more calorie dense foods. Say no to the French fries but yes to the fruits and veggies.

Also, you poor women that suffer from morning sickness when you are expecting have my condolences. Obviously, for those in the vomitous clutches of this obnoxious condition whatever can be kept down should be consumed. And of course, getting too much food is not an issue for the gagging.

Now that we have covered the fundamentals concerning pregos and calories how about exercise? If you’re pregnant exercise is bad, right? While pregnancy is not the time to start up a new exercise routine, the rule of thumb is that you can continue to do just about any exercise that you could do beforehand without difficulty. So if you were in good shape and regularly went running before you were expecting you will most likely be able to continue that regiment to some degree. There are exceptions certainly. Contact sports are out as are things like deep leg bends and weight lifting. And of course some women, due to possible complications, are told to keep their exercise to a minimum. Any exercise program should be discussed with your doctor to ensure that it will be safe given your specific circumstances. With that said, I know plenty of pregos that use pregnancy as an excuse not to exercise at all even though there is no reason for it in their particular case.

In conclusion, while some women have problems with excessive weight gain during pregnancy due to genetic or hormonal causes beyond their control this is not the case with most pregnancies. Just like everyone else, pregnant women gain too much weight because they eat too much, exercise too little, or a combination of both. As much as a mother-to-be might wish that pregnancy would somehow be a loophole to that cardinal rule, it’s just not the case. So remember ladies, when you are 5 weeks along you aren’t eating for two; you are eating for you and a pea-sized mass of replicating cells. And when you are further along you only need 300 extra calories a day but a substantial amount of added nutrients. So make sure you get highly nutritious foods and take a nice walk. The exercise and healthy eating will do both of you good. And if you recall nothing else from this post remember this: pregnant women may need extra love and support to cope with the changes they are going through but they don’t need an extra cheeseburger. Your post-pregnancy body will thank you for keeping that in mind.

3 Jun

The Twerd Herd

Posted by on June 3, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I am a nerd; I make no attempts to conceal this fact from the world. I embrace my nerdiness like one might embrace a fuzzy Tribble or a cute little Ewok.

Many of my partying compadres wore Twilight themed attire for this

Many of my partying compadres wore Twilight themed attire for this event. Some of the boys even used iron-on transfers to create their own Twilight t-shirts. Impressive.

Since nerdery comes natural to me I concocted a brilliant plan when my friend Cameron suggested that a group of us get together to watch New Moon, the latest Twilight movie. I decided to take on the task of hosting this cinematic gathering and turn it into more than just a movie viewing because, as with all of my undertakings, I was not satisfied with it being just your average bash. I didn’t want this party to consist of a few of us squished on a couple of couches squinting at a tiny LCD screen so I rented a giant movie theater room at Noah’s that was equipped with 20 plush electronically controlled recliners, a giant projection screen, and a booming sound system. Sweet!

The theater room was perfect!

The theater room was perfect!

I invited a bunch of my fellow Twilight freaks to fill these comfy seats and made sure that they were adequately sugared-up during the flick by providing lots of snacks including some buttery vampire bite cookies and a pack of tasty werewolf cupcakes. The cupcakes took me 4 hours to decorate. Yeah, they were kind of a pain, as werewolves often are, but they turned out pretty cool so I guess they were worth the Carpal Tunnel I almost developed from squeezing all that frosting.

My delicious wolf pack.

Finally, some werewolves you can sink your teeth into not just your eyes.

After the movie I tested everyone’s Twilight knowledge with a trivia contest. I had drool-worthy prizes for the winners: an Edward Barbie doll, a 1000 piece Jacob puzzle, a t-shirt professing the wearer’s love for Jacob…basics that every girl needs. But apparently what I remember from the Twilight books is not representative of what everyone else remembers. Jason has long told me that I have a “memory trap”, a reservoir of useless information floating around in my head that I can access at any given moment. I never really believed him until now. I came up with over 60 trivia questions from the Twilight books; they started out easy and increased in difficulty as they continued. I knew the answers to all but the 10 hardest questions even before I consulted the books for confirmation so I thought the Twilight fans attending my party would at least find the first 30 or so no-brainers. I was wrong. They struggled with the answers from the get go. My trivia game therefore didn’t last nearly as long as I had expected. Sorry friends, next time I will not rate question difficulty based off what I can personally recall. Apparently Jason is right and I am a bit of a memory outlier.

Oddly enough Tom was one of the trivia contest winners. What happened ladies?

Oddly enough, Tom was one of the trivia contest winners. What happened ladies? How could you let Edward run into the arms of another man so easily?

Regardless of the brevity of my trivia extravaganza I thoroughly enjoyed this get-together and the chance to wallow in nerdiness. I think I will repeat the experience next year with a Star Trek or Harry Potter themed event cause there are very few things sweeter than getting your nerd on.


My friend Wendy and her niece were all about team Jacob.