Snack Attack!!

There is a reason they say, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" instead of, "a bag of Cheetos a day..."

An apple only has 47 calories. A bag of chips (the 99 cent size) has about 400. Think about that the next time you feel that yearning in your belly for a snack. Now, if you only ate “one serving” of the chips, which is about a third of the bag (as if!) you would only take in about 130 calories, which is approimately the amount you should be taking in for a typical snack.

The average female (150 lbs) needs about 2000 calories per day, the average male about 2500. That is, the average semi-active male or female. If all you do is sit on the couch all day, you need to reconsider these numbers. I have probably preached about this before, but for those of you who don’t know, I will explain one more time.

There is a thing called RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). This is what you would burn each day if you did nothing. If you just sat on the couch all day and ate potato chips and watched TV, you would still burn a certain amount of calories. There is a formula, based on your weight, height and age (for more info you can go here) which I am not going to explain. However, the average (again, 150 lb) woman’s RMR is about 1500. So, if you sit around all day (which many of us do – hello…office!) and then eat your recommended 2000 calories, you are going to have an excess of 500 calories.

The problem here is that roughly 3500 calories equals ONE pound. So, in one week, if I sat around all day in the office and then ate 2000 calories per day, I would have an excess of about 3500 calories in one week. That means I would gain about one pound per week. Scary, isn’t it? So, to avoid that from happening, one needs to either eat 500 calories per day LESS or exercise enough to burn 500 calories a day MORE.

Sounds easy, right? Well it is not easy if you are gobbling up a 400 calorie bag of chips as a snack every day! Add that you’re your normal three squares a day and you could easily go over 2000 calories a day. So, next time you are considering a bag of Cheetos out of the vending machine at work, think twice and grab an apple instead.


Southern Hemisphere is Almost Here!

The Players and The Possibilities: Me.CK.Doyle.S.M.G-man.Danielle.Pete.K

Except for Pete and K, I have met all of these folks while working around the country doing disaster assistance. First of all, do do this job you already have to be a bit of a wanderer - able to live away from home for long periods at a time, to be without your friends and family. Because of this, we make new friends and aquire a new family. The folks above are prime examples of that. In the past few years, we have all traveled together, visited each other and kept in touch, although most of us don't work together anymore (most people had to eventually go back to their "real" jobs).

The Possible Route:

Only a skeleton plan so far, the general idea is to hit up about 8-10 countries in about as many months. Leaving sometime at the end of 2007, our trip will probably begin in either Chile or Argentina and we will work our way north as the weather in the Southern Hemisphere gets colder in the south and warmer in the north.

When it all begins:

We will leave right after Christmas and probably (as we know it so far) start in Chile, going to see Patagonia in the only few months it is warm enought to bear. From there the possibilities are endless!!!

Planning is fun, right?!!!

We have been talking about this for such a long time but in all honesty, aside from a few key places, events and attractions, we really don't know what we want to do. We will rely half on the guidebook and half on the whim of the day... that is what makes it so exiciting (and scary, but in a GOOD way!) Let the plans begin!


The Anniversary of My Past Life

I opened up my AOL this morning and the first thing I noticed was “The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Starts Today!” I remember when those words used to make me cringe. I worked at Nordstrom for 8 years, and the Anniversary Sale meant…late nights spent preparing and long days spent running around and around and up and down. Granted, you could make a lot of money during the Anniversary Sale. First of all, you were allowed to “pre-sell” merchandise. Customers could come a couple of weeks beforehand to try on and pick out what they wanted and then you would charge their card on the first day of the sale (today), allowing you to rack up quite a nice amount of sales if you played your cards right.

However, by pre-selling the merchandise, you would repeatedly dig yourself into a hole because you often did not have the correct size for the customers who came in on the first day. This meant spending possibly hours on the phone with other stores, trying to find the appropriate size, not to mention having to listen to the lady bitch about how it was ridiculous that you didn’t have her size when it was only the first day of the sale. You also had many customers who would have buyer’s remorse. They came in, pre-tried and pre-bought (oftentimes several items, easily totaling upwards of a thousand dollars), you rang it up on the first day and then, two days later (after you had already had dozens of customers that had needed that missing size) they would change their mind and ask you to return it for them.

The first weekend we would work all day the first day (7 a.m. - 10 p.m.), most or all day on Saturday (at least 12 hours) and all day on Sunday. Then sometimes we would work 10-12 hours a day throughout the week as well. However, even with all the long hours and customer issues, it was the best time of year for us. With 10% commission, we could make $4,000-$10,000 in the two week period.

So today I opened up my AOL and “Anniversary Sale” jumped out at me from the page. The first thing I thought was…I should go to Nordstrom! I need something! I don’t know what it is, but I need it. And I need it today! Luckily for my pocketbook, the closest Nordstrom to me right now is in Houston, which is a 5 hour drive. Luckily I also remembered that nobody in their right mind would go to Nordstrom on the first day of the Anniversary Sale. Especially not me!

And…I really don’t need anything. When I worked at Nordys, I used to kid myself that I needed things. New shoes (hundreds of pairs), a new red suede coat (which by the way is REALLY cool – I still have it and it will last me years, especially since I never have a chance to wear it), a new dress which is “such a good deal!” because it is marked down from $400 to $200… the list goes on. Although I have retained my fetish for expensive shoes, I now diversify a little and sometimes shop at TJ Max instead. I also have absolutely no desire to go and push my way around the store with hundreds of other desperate women who will probably try on hundreds of things and then not buy anything anyway.

So, the words “Anniversary Sale” still make me cringe. But now I have more control over my Nordstrom experience. This year I will avoid the store; I will avoid the nasty memories; I will avoid the harried salespeople and the aggressive consumers.

This year, I will shop online.


Oh the Memories!

I'm losing my mind. 

I was talking to my cubicle-mate yesterday about another girl that we both have worked with. We chatted about this girl and where we knew her from, etc. It turns out we had both been in Florida at the same time as she had…so we started talking about things that we did while in Florida. As it turns out, a friend and I had traveled to St. Augustine, FL one weekend to meet with her friend and coworkers. My cube-mate said that he had done the same thing – traveled from Orlando with a co-worker to meet up with her friend in St. Augustine.

As I sat talking to him, all of a sudden it dawned on me – I had met this guy before! When we went to St. Augustine, there were about 6 people all together. My cube-mate was one of them! How could I have forgotten that I had already previously met him? We have been working together for about 2 months now and I never even realized. Granted, the St. Augustine trip was about 2 years ago, but how quickly we forget!

I was talking to a friend the other day and she said that she read an article which stated that the average person only remembers 20% of what they learn each day.

Music conjures up memories; smells, tastes and sights remind you of something you have experienced in the past. Memories are what keep us going from day to day. If the statistic that my friend said is true, imagine what we could be capable of. I mean, if right now I am only remembering 20% of what I learn every day, imagine me at 75% or even 100%!! I would be able to speak French fluently; I would be able to quote policy at work; I could be a Travel Guide or a Physical Therapist.

However, that is not the case. If the AVERAGE person remembers 20%, I may be lucky enough to be on the top of the average, but honestly I think I am more like a 50 percent than 80 percent. I am constantly preparing myself to say something and when I finally get the chance I have forgotten what is was I was going to say. Or the other day I was going to go to Target for something and when I got in the car I could not remember what is was to save my life.

There is also something to be said for the fact that the older you get, the less you remember. Why is that? Do we only have a certain amount of space and once it is filled, we have to push SOMETHING out in order to acquire something new? So if I want to learn Spanish I may have to forfeit my banana bread recipe? If this is so, how do we categorize what is important enough to keep and what we can throw out with today’s trash? And, if that is so, do pack rats in life have better memory capacity?

I asked my mom about it and she said that it is not that she can’t remember things as much as it is a combination of her not listening and not remembering. And as my parents get older, not hearing comes into play as well.

No wonder the average is only 20%. If you are lucky enough to be paying attention, you probably won’t be able to hear what was being said anyway, and if you were lucky enough to hear what was being said, you probably won’t remember it. 

This has been a link up with Dare to Share, where the topic was LOSS:  


Beautiful Summer

Henry James once said that the two most beautiful words in the English language were “Summer Afternoon”. Personally, I tend to agree. There is nothing better than a warm day, sitting near the water with a book in hand, watching the day go by oh so slowly.

However, in the last…almost ten years, I have really not even noticed the passing of the seasons in the least bit. First I lived in San Francisco, where there is only gray and fog with the occasional burst of sunshine. However the sunshine is not in the “summer” but instead in the strangest of times – April, May or October. After San Francisco, I lived in London and Istanbul – London was mostly rainy (I was there in the “summer”) and Istanbul was mostly hot (I was there in the “fall”). No normal seasons there! Then I spent some time in Florida and Louisiana. Again - no “summer”. There is only hot, hotter and hottest. Oh and muggy, muggier and muggiest.

I miss the time of year when winter slips into to spring, where the first buds come up and the countryside is so green and new. I miss the fall, where the trees turn fiery orange and red and you can feel that slight bit of crisp in the air. I miss the winter – the sledding, the snowball fights, the pink cheeks and hot chocolate.

But most of all, I miss the summer. I miss the cold water of the Feather River. I miss laying on a huge rock trying to get warm before jumping back into the cold water. I miss having a beer on the porch at 10 o’clock at night when it is still warm. I miss the midnight dips in the river. I miss fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, barbeques and family times.

This year I am going to “take the summer back!” I may not be in a place where I have a so-called summer, but I am going to make my own summer wherever I am. Last month I went camping and hiking in Canada. Yesterday I went fishing in my grandmother’s pond. I went swimming in the ocean. In August my grandmother turns 75 and we are going to have a big party in the park where we will hang out with family, swim and barbeque.

Perhaps if I can bring all the elements of summer together bit by bit, once again I can experience the most beautiful of the beautiful – my very own “summer afternoon”.


On Golden Pond

After spending the weekend in Beantown, I headed South toward the Cape to spend some time with grandma and the pond. The actual name of the pond is "Little Sandy Bottom Pond" (there is also Big Sandy Bottom and just plain Sandy Bottom) and it is about 3 miles around. I only know that because I tried running around it, got about 3/4 of the way around, got lost, asked directions, was told to "go through the cranberry bogs", did so, got lost again and ended up taking the "very long way" around.

Other than relaxing at the pond, or getting stuck in the bogs trying to run around it, we spent our days whale watching, eating seafood, lounging at the beach, reading, eating ice cream and chatting.
Once when I was about 10, I spent a couple of weeks of the summer with my grandma, and we must have gone to a different creamery or ice cream shop every day, sampling them all trying to figure out which one we liked the best. Although now I am older and have a much slower metabolism, it didn't stop us from once again doing the same thing (by the way, this trip's favorite was Friendly's chocolate almond crunch).
Before I knew it, the time had come to return to the city to catch my flight. I don't know where the days went... They must have gotten lost in the pond.


Do You Know the Way to Fenway?

I flew into Boston on Saturday afternoon, arriving just after lunch. I met my friend Garret downtown and we quickly set off to explore the city. I have been to Boston a few times before. I have flown in and out of the city a few times, went to visit fiends and stopped by on the way to grandma's house. However, usually someone leads me along and I follow. This time Garett and I were on our own.
We started off (of course) at the Commons, and after seeing a duck tour, decided that that is what we wanted to do. Why not be a cheesy tourist? After all, that is kind of what we were anyway (you should have seen Garett handling the map and me with my camera). So, we decided to ride the duck. However, the day's tours were already sold out, so we would have to check back the next day. We decided to stroll along Boston's "Rodeo Drive" (Newberry St.) instead. As we were walking, we noticed many, many people wearing Red Sox gear. I though, "Wow, they really do love their Red Sox here!" Personally, I am an avid Giants fan, but I rarely see this many people wandering around the city with SF gear on. After a while, we started noticing that everyone was headed the same direction and we finally came to the conclusion that there must be a game today.

So we headed that way. We thought, what the heck, maybe we can get tickets to a game. We did not realize how competitive the ticket-getting process actually was! The line for game day tickets was about 4 miles long. However, after talking to some seasoned fans at the front of the line, we decided that we may just have a chance (in hell) of getting tickets to the game. The tickets went on sale at 5. At 7 we had FINALLY gotten to the front of the line. We thought - this is it! Our chance! We are in! And then...they stopped selling tickets. There were only 4 people in front of us; we had waited for almost 3 hours! They couldn't stop now! But they did. The only way we could have gotten in is if we would have paid 150 a ticket and not been able to sit together.

So we thought...we would try again the next day. I don't know where this obsession to get in and see a game came from. It may have been that Garret had NEVER been to a game (any game). It may have been that Fenway Park is a legend (it was opened in 1912 and was home to legendary great, Babe Ruth). It may have been that we already waited long enough and gosh darn it we were GOING to get in (we are both stubborn Taurus)!

The next day we went early and rode the duck, then went to the park, where the line was about a 10th of the size it had been the day before (we also got there 3 and a half hours early). When tickets went on sale, we were there, at the front of the line with Visa in hand. And we got in!

The Red Sox lost to Texas that day but in our minds the day as a whole was a winner!