All those who are native to Utah remember the kind of winters we grew up with. Winters that never quit. Winters we were continually hit by snowstorms and drifts piled up high. We haven’t had a winter like that in over a decade…until now.
I’m toe carving!
Our winters as of late, which have lacked any bite, were blamed on El Niño or global warming. However, no one can dispute that this year we have had a REAL Utah winter. It started out slow but by Christmas, winter meant business. In January I think we had more days with snow than days without.
Jas is awesome!
Jason and I went snowboarding on Friday at Brighton Resort. Aaron Blakely, Jeremy Rowley, and Jeremy Sabin all joined us. We all agree that the snow that day was easily the best we had seen in a decade. Brighton had gotten around 70 inches of snow in just a few days making it a boarder’s paradise.
Rowley didn’t comb his hair.
Fifteen inches of snow fell Thursday night so Friday morning there was a sheriff checking cars going up the Big Cottonwood Canyon, making sure they had chains or 4-wheel drive. Luckily the Sabin’s had kindly allowed us to borrow their truck. So we were able to continue.
Aaron post boarding
The snow was perfect for learning new boarding skills. I have been trying to become a proficient toe carver for years now. I have had some success but on Friday I made leaps and bounds. The snow was like a wet soft pillow; it made you feel invincible. So falling was no big deal and I was willing to try anything. I’m happy to say that I can now toe carve! I’m one more powder day away from having it perfect!
And the snow is still not showing signs of stopping. Last night Brighton got 15 more inches of snow, giving them a base depth of 124 inches. Today and tonight promise a 100% chance of snow as well. So all you who have been thinking of skiing or boarding, now is the PERFECT time to do it. The snow is unbelievable! I’m sure Jason and I will be back out boarding again soon.
As most of you know, I have been the captain of a coed indoor soccer team for nearly a year now. Team Evil is our current team name, though we were once known as the Goal Diggers.
I can’t say all my experiences as captain of this team have been good. I have discovered that competition brings out the best in some people and the worst in others and that sexism is unfortunately still very much alive today.
However, despite a few setbacks and the occasional team drama, I have very much enjoyed playing on and leading this team. My favorite thing about playing on Team Evil is watching players improve and excel. My team will let anyone join us with a desire to play and a good attitude. As a result we have many members that have played little or no soccer before joining our team. So these teammates often start out as pretty shaky players but they soon develop super awesome soccer skills and become contributing members of our team. I enjoy watching this transition and feel somewhat like a proud mama when they finally get the hang of it and exceed their teammates expectations.
Jas and Rae are evil!
Simone has gone from a player with absolutely no soccer experience to an aggressive defender. She takes on men three times her size (and weight) without a second thought now.
Dave, also a noob to soccer, has really become a spectacular defender and goalie. He has surprised everyone without how quickly he improved and is now an integral part of our defense.
Adam, who spent his first few games kicking everyone’s shins instead of the ball, now is one of our top goal scorers. Way to go Adam!
Sara and Jacob, relatively new additions to our team, have impressed us with their good attitudes and enthusiasm. They aren’t shabby players either!
Andrew is the undisputed quickest member of our team. He therefore gets more than his share of time playing the dreaded mid position. But unfortunately, he does it too well, so I’m sure he will continue to get stuck with that position in the future.
Jeremy is very loud and helps us not take ourselves too seriously. My favorite Jeremy moment was when the other team scored a goal and Jeremy shouted, “It’s a sad day in Gotham”. Even the ref laughed.
Amber, once again a noob, has become a much more confident player. She started out very timid and unsure of herself and now she is quite the defender. We will all be excited when Amber scores her first goal-it will happen soon.
Jason is personally my favorite member of the team, and of course I am not biased in any way. He gives himself little credit but he is great at any position he plays and runs like the wind.
Tom has been our goalie for many a season. He started with no experience playing this position but has definitely developed into quite the keep. This was his last season playing with us-so adieu Tom we wish you well.
Although Team Evil rarely wins, our players go out on the field each game excited and positive despite our losing streak and each time we score a goal there is so much cheering from the sub box that you would think we had just made the winning touchdown at the super bowl. I am grateful for teammates that support each other and celebrate even the smallest of victories.
Adam and Jeremy
There are some that would say the only point of competitive sports is winning. But I strongly disagree. I play for a team that doesn’t give up even if the odds are highly against us, that can smile and laugh after a game where we scored no points at all, that will cheer for each other until our voices are horse. We may not win on a regular basis but we have perseverance, enthusiasm, patience, loyalty, and appreciation for each other and because of that I wouldn’t trade any of our members for the best soccer players out there. Way to go Team Evil! I love playing with all of you! You kick butt!
May our new season be a splendid one!
The Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prominent independent film festivals, takes place mere minutes from where we live. Because we have a unique opportunity as locals to attend this event, Jason and I try to go to at least one screening every year. Locals can purchase tickets earlier than the general public by registering on the Sundance website between September and December. However, Jason and I usually forget to do this on time and end up scrambling to get tickets when they go on sale to the public. Sometimes our scrambling is successful, sometimes it is not.
This year we managed to get tickets to two shows: a documentary about prominent African Americans called The Black List and a Swedish film called The King of Ping Pong. The tricky and interesting thing about Sundance is that you have to choose which films you want to see based off a little paragraph description about them. You don’t have a trailer to rely on or critic reviews to fall back on. Though this does turn choosing a film into more of a guessing game than anything else, it also gives you a chance to experience these films with no expectations or preconceived notions, to be surprised.
The Black List turned out to be well made and thought provoking. We were told by the director and producer, who were present at the screening, that it had recently been bought by HBO. So if you ever get a chance to see it, it’s worth watching.
The Black List
The King of Ping Pong was a decent film and it had some truly funny moments. However, it moved at a glacial pace so we didn’t enjoy it as much as the other show. But overall the experience was still a good one.
The King of Ping Pong
So all you Utah film enthusiasts, next time Sundance is in town give it a try. People come from all over the world to attend and all you have to do is drive a few minutes. It’s worth it!
I came home on Tuesday afternoon for lunch, just like I do every weekday. When I got home on this particular day I washed my hands, just like I always do. While I was in the middle of this washing however I realized there was something odd about the water coming out of the tap-it was brownish orange. At first I thought I was imagining things so I turned on another sink-the same gross looking water came out. After I had tried the kitchen sink as well, with the same result, I called Jason in somewhat of a panic. He called Lehi City and they promised to send someone over shortly. They had received another report of the same thing just a few minutes previously somewhere else in our area and they were unsure whether these two reports were just the beginning of a larger problem.
At this point all the worst case scenarios went through my mind. What if we didn’t have useable running water for days? What would we do? Would we have to go stay at a hotel? What if we couldn’t drink our water, take showers, or wash our hands, clothes, and dishes. How would we get by? I was suddenly hit by the realization of just how much we rely on the conveniences we take for granted. Having running water is absolutely vital-what if all of a sudden we just didn’t have it anymore?
This made me think of the complete necessity of having a 72-hour kit. If there was a major emergency and our water system was compromised, and running to the store to grab some bottled water was out of the question, having a 72-hour kit could mean the deference between surviving and not.
Back to my story- we talked to the city water experts one more time and they said they would be at our house in about 15 minutes and that we should, in the mean time, turn on our water to see if this would flush the contaminants out a bit. We did this while we waited and by the time they arrived our water was looking much better. They examined it, took samples of it, and checked our neighbor’s water. They told us that dirt had probably gotten into our pipes from a contractor messing around with the lines in our area, a contractor that didn’t know what he was doing. They could find no traces of the contamination in our neighbor’s water. So they told us to turn on every sink and shower in our house to try to clean out our pipes and use all of the water in our hot water heater to flush out any sediment that may have settled to the bottom of it. They also said the water was safe to bath in and use-just not to drink.
In order to be sure our water was safe to drink we would have to wait two days for test results to come back. And with that they departed.
We were very grateful we could at least use our water for everything but drinking. It was a tremendous relief! But drinking bottled water did get kind of old over the next couple days. Jason and I always felt thirsty.
Our test results have since come back and our water is fine. Yeah!
Incidentally, we saved a sample of our gross water and although the particulates remained in solution for a whole day by the following day they had settled to the bottom forming a reddish brown sludge. It was not very appetizing.
Care for a drink?
It’s that time of year again. The time for New Year’s resolutions, and for a lot of you that means going on some sort of diet. Many of us yearly vow to lose weight, however, most of us somehow end up doing the opposite of what we intend to and by the following year have somehow managed to gain weight rather than lose it. And then the cycle starts all over again…thus after many years of yoyo dieting we end up fatter than ever and frustrated at our apparent inability to do anything about it. What am I doing wrong you ask? While there are many possible answers to that question here are some basic tips that as a food scientist, and an observer of many a bad diet, I have come up with.
Tip 1: Beware of the “magic bullet”. We hear about them all the time on the radio, TV, or internet. Yes, you know what I’m talking about, a magical pill or drink you take which makes pounds just melt away with absolutely no effort. Just keep eating at McDonald’s for every meal and continue sitting around playing World of Warcraft for twelve hours every night and take this happy little pill and all your fat will disappear- sound too good to be true? Well, it probably is.
Tip 2: Beware of any diet product that tells you, “No eating or lifestyle changes necessary.” This goes hand in hand with tip 1, once again they are telling you to go ahead, eat a whole pie every night and sit glued to the TV for hours at a time; you will still be able to miraculously lose weight. While this may appeal to many of you, the unfortunate truth is that in order to lose weight and KEEP IT OFF you DO need to change your eating habits and you DO need to change your lifestyle. I know, the truth can hurt, but that’s just the way it is. Even if there is some amazing pill out there that can make you drop the pounds with absolutely no effort on your part (which I highly doubt), are you going to keep taking that pill for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? If not, then eventually your poor eating habits and life style are going to catch up with you and you will gain the weight back, and then some. And you will be worse off than where you started from and more frustrated than ever.
Tip 3: Beware of the fad diet. These are always coming and going-the so called newest and best way to lose weight. Remember the fat free craze back in the 90’s? Or more recently, the carb free craze? These popular diets come and go. Don’t substitute sound nutrition for some new diet fad that in a year or two will be all but forgotten.
Tip 4: Beware of any diet that focuses on consuming hard to find foods or food items that have to be purchased specially. The key to any successful diet is that the eating and exercise habits you establish while on the diet have to be transferable to your life permanently; otherwise you will eventually gain the weight back. A good diet should focus on “normal” healthy food that is found and purchased easily.
Tip 5: This goes along with tip 4. Beware of any diet that centers on consuming one food over and over again in replacement for a meal or normal food. For instance, if your diet consists of drinking the same diet shake every morning for breakfast, what is eventually going to happen? You are going to get sick of having that same shake over and over and you will need/want to go back to eating normal food. If you haven’t changed your eating habits in general than going back to normal food is going to mean gaining weight for you.
Tip 6: Quick fixes don’t last. We’ve all heard the diet product commercials that claim you can lose 10 pounds in one week. Sure, we would all like to lose weight quickly and effortlessly. But the truth is that our bodies buy generic lasix online resist weight changes. If you lose weight too fast your body will protest and the end result will be gaining back even more weight than you started with. In order to make weight loss permanent and healthy you really should only lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. This does mean you will have to be patient and not expect dramatic immediate results but it also means that you won’t be right back where you started next year.
Tip 7: Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you can never enjoy the foods you love again because you are on a diet-that just isn’t the case. Cutting the foods you love out altogether is really not necessary or desirable. If your favorite treat is donuts, enjoy a donut once in a while; just don’t have them for breakfast every morning. A wise professor once told me, “There is no such thing as a junk food, only a junk diet.” Any food can be part of a healthy diet if we eat it in moderation.
Tip 8: Every attempt to lose weight should include exercise! We lose weight by expending more calories than we consume. Exercise is a great way to increase how many calories we burn. It has the added benefit of increasing our lean body mass, which in turn also boosts our caloric consumption. But exercise does much more for us than just that. Those good ol’ endorphins make us feel good, not to mention the sense of accomplishment that generally accompanies exercise. And our heart will thank us.
But why does exercise have such a bad rep? Many of us avoid exercise like it was the plaque. The key is to make your form of exercise something that you really enjoy doing. Exercise does not have to be a chore. Jason and I love to go mountain biking, hiking, play soccer and racquetball, and snowboard. Though these are great forms of exercise, they are also a lot of fun for us. So if going to the gym really isn’t you thing-don’t go to the gym. Find something you love and stick with it.
Jason on a sunny winter run.
Finding an exercise partner can also greatly increase your exercise success. Not only will they make exercise more enjoyable but they will keep you from making excuses not to exercise. Jason is my partner in crime and I am very grateful he is such an active person.
Excercise makes me happy!
Tip 9: Don’t let the media convince you that you need to look like a super model. Not only is that a pretty impossible goal for most of us, usually it’s really not a healthy goal either. Your goal weight should be healthy and realistic.
Tip 10: Try replacing fattier dairy products for lower fat options. Try using skim or 1% milk instead of 2% and eating low fat or fat-free yogurt. This is a relatively easy change to make. You will get used to the taste of the lower fat options and soon will prefer them over the higher fat alternatives.
In the end, the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your eating habits and lifestyle altogether. You need to change the way you think about food. Change how and what you eat, and become a lot more active. And you need to change all this in a sustainable, permanent way. A “diet” that we stick to only until we reach our goal weight will never be successful because going back to our old eating habits means going back to our old weight. Also, it is important to think about what you are including in your diet not just what you are excluding. Fruits and vegetables should be consumed a plenty. Whole grains should be substituted for refined flours. Have health be your goal not just weight loss.
It may take longer to lose weight this way and it will take effort. But it could mean the difference between “Lose Weight” being on your new year’s resolution list next year again- or not.