Monday, December 30, 2013

The World is My Oyster

2014 is going to be a big year for me...I turn 50!!!  Hard to believe, but it's true.  I'm trying to decide what awesome trip I want to take to celebrate, but it's difficult.  You see, it occurred to me today that I love the world.  I love it so much, I can't decide where to go and what to see.  And even better, I LOVE my traveling companion.  Do we go somewhere we've been before?  Somewhere we'd like to live so we can preview it?  Someplace we've never been before?  Decisions, decisions!

We are going to South Korea with Elder B in the summer, to which we will probably tack on a side trip to Japan, maybe add Mongolia or Malaysia (or both) and/or Vietnam.  But then my other choices include, but are not limited to:

1)  San Marino for a MotoGP race, followed by the Greek Islands, then up to Romania
2)  An African safari
3)  Australia/New Zealand
4)  A Trans-Siberian Railway "cruise"
5)  San Marino to Southern France to Spain
6)  Southeast Asia with Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia
7)  Scandinavia
8)  Austria, Czech, Romania, Poland, Russia
9)  The Inca Trail
10)  The Galapagos and Easter Island (which could be attached to the Inca Trail trip)

I'm grateful to have choices, and grateful to live in such a beautiful world.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Check out this story about Texas Tornado Boot Camp!

Rowdy and I went to Colin Edward's Texas Tornado Boot Camp last April, after the Circuit of the Americas MotoGP race.  I can't believe I didn't blog about it.  It was so! much! fun!!!  Better than Disneyland!

Kate Erwin was in my rider group.  She's a multi-talented journalist/stylist/biker chick from NYC and quite a hoot to hang out with.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving--A Whirlwind

Rowdy and I drove from SD to St. George on Wednesday night.  This is usually a 6 or 7 hour drive, but it took us 9.5 hours.  What is so infuriating is that there are stretches on the 15 that where traffic is almost at a standstill, but there hasn't been an accident or bad weather or anything.  It's unfathomable.

But anyway, I was grateful that we were able to have a car trip together, for satellite radio and Audible, and our safe arrival.

As I have to work today, the plan was for Rowdy to drive me to Las Vegas on Thursday so I could fly home.  A plan for me to help out and work on Thursday night was hatched more than a month ago.  We didn't have Oliver then, so I thought that I might as well work, help a colleague and earn some extra money if I was going to be alone on Thursday night anyway.  Just staying home Wednesday and Thursday and flying to Las Vegas on Friday night was never an option.

I'm grateful that our trip back to Vegas was safe, that we had time to just shoot the breeze with Jamie, and that work went really smoothly and easily.  I'm grateful that Oliver tolerated being at home alone really well and was soooooo very happy to see me and loved up on me when I got home.

I am especially grateful for Lezlie, my MIL.  She pushed up the Thanksgiving dinner so that I could eat before we left for the airport.  Everything was delicious, but it was especially lovely to be able to spend that time with my in-laws.  I have always been blessed with terrific in-laws.

I'm grateful that my dad is still around to enjoy another Thanksgiving with us.  He has received so many blessings that made his whole bypass experience go wonderfully.  Maybe he doesn't realize that they were blessings, but I can totally see them.  I'm grateful that I could talk to my mom, dad and big sister yesterday.  I'm grateful for my little sister, though I didn't talk to her and couldn't be with her over the holiday.

Today, I'm grateful to be able to craft my workday such that I can get everything done and get out in time to catch my flight back to Vegas.  I'm grateful to know a friend who has a car service so I don't have to drive my car to the airport or bug other friends who are doing their day-to-day business or have family around to take me to the airport.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eight is Great!

We were married the day after Thanksgiving in 2005.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the actual day, I just think, "the day after Thanksgiving".  Of course, that day changes every year.  So I forget that it's November 25th.  Rowdy says to remember it as being exactly one month from Christmas.

Despite my forgetfulness, I never forget the feelings of that day--seeing my sweet Rowdy tear up, having most of our immediate families close.  My dad walked me down the stairs of the house we were renting to the living room, and our bishop married us in front of the fireplace.  We went to Torrey Pines Lodge for our wedding night, then the next day, we came home and were parents.  

In the past eight years, we have traveled to 14 countries together:  Costa Rica, the UK, Morocco, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Norway, Chile, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, and Israel.

We've also been to hell and back, enduring ten surgeries together, all of them performed on Rowdy over the course of two years.  That was our hardest time in many ways.  Neither of us likes to think about those times.  On the other hand, we've had so many wonderful times together, I can't even list them all.  I know when we look back with the perspective of eternity, we will just see the good times.

I love you, Rowdy Matt Bricco, and I am so grateful to have you in my life.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Gratitude

Rowdy and I went to the Boise State/SDSU football game last night with our friend, Andy.  Andy told us that one of our other friends has decided to leave the church.  That made me so sad.  But I am grateful for all of the people I know who are standing strong and immoveable.

I have been thinking of my young women and wondering what I could do to help them.  The answer to that came today when I felt prompted to read a particular lesson from the manual during Sacrament Meeting.  Our Laurel advisor's husband found me right after to let me know that his wife was sick and couldn't teach today.  So I was able to present the lesson I felt was needed, hopefully in a way that touched the right person or people.  I'm grateful for inspiration and answers to prayers.

I'm also grateful for my cute young women.  Here's a quote of the day, with regards to comparing ourselves with others, "That's just dumb, because everyone's different.  It's like comparing apples and (few seconds pause) BROCCOLI.  Both are good, but they're completely different.  So you can't compare them.  Just eat them.  They're both good for you."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

On Friday, I was grateful for times at a baby "sprinkle" for my friend, Erika.  She just had baby boy #5, so no major shower for her.  My ward friends are dear, crafty and hilarious., especially the people I work with.  Things went very smoothly yesterday, and we were successful in helping our patients.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday (but I still feel this way today, don't get me wrong)...

I was so grateful for my YW leaders, particularly my secretary, who brought her skillet and her laptop and made the technical things happen for our long-distance cooking lesson.

I was grateful for Elizabeth, who was willing to take time out of her evening to teach the girls how to chop garlic and make rice corn cakes with black beans.  So delicious, you guys!

I was grateful for all of the girls who came and participated.  They are all just wonderful, delightful young women.  

I was grateful that Oliver was fairly well-behaved despite having girls, girls, girls all over him.  He's a chick magnet, for sure.


I'm grateful for naps.  I don't know if it was too much cold medicine or what, but I was zonked out by the end of work.

I'm grateful for my education and to know what to do for my patients.

I'm grateful for the time to practice the guitar.  My public debut is coming up!!  I'm excited!!

I am always grateful for Rowdy.  I love him more every day.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I was grateful yesterday...

for half-days at work, my hairdresser, cute color and cut, spending time with some delightful women while we put together Christmas ornaments.  Yeah, it took a long dang time, but it was a great group of people to be with.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Eighteenth Day

I'm grateful for motivation.  The opportunity to actually perform on the electric bass has come my way, so now I am motivated to practice.  I think I can do it, and I know it will be fun.  Also, my SIL, Molly, has embarked on a new career as a personal trainer (which she will rock at).  She is starting a free, 30-day workout challenge that will begin December 1st.  I'm grateful to have something to keep me on track with my fitness goals.  It's so easy to be lazy with no immediate goals in sight.

There's something I'm grateful for today, but in a backhanded way.  I said something to someone today in a really Mean Girl kind of way, and I am so, so embarrassed and mad at myself for doing that.  I hate when who I know I should be and who I really am are so obviously mismatched.  As mortifying and humbling as it is, I am grateful to get slapped in the face, metaphorically speaking. I'm grateful every day that all of us can change and be better.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Tonight, I was reading my November posts from years past.  November 18, 2010, was a tough day in our house.  K was having difficulty getting it together, particularly in school, and R and I were really frustrated with him.  K was super-frustrated with us in return.  I expressed my hope that he would learn discipline and maturity on his mission.  Fortunately, he started pulling things together over the next year, even before his mission.  He is also growing a lot as he has been away from us.  I'm so grateful for K and the strengths that he has been given and is learning to use.

I'm grateful for the Atonement and the ways we can all grow and change.

Sabbath Gratitude

I am so grateful for a day of rest.  Things are getting back to normal, but I still needed to lay low today.

My appetite is back!  I'm grateful for spaghetti, my favorite comfort food, and the desire to eat it.  I haven't wanted to eat anything for about three days.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Month is Half-Over

Today's gratefuls:

1)  Autumn, for bringing by homemade.  That was so thoughtful.  She used to be known as "Autumn, my friend who is a choclatier".  She will henceforth be known as "Autumn, my friend who gave up being a choclatier for something sweeter".  She's concentrating her time on being a SAH mom for her three boys.

2)Naps, naps and more naps.

3)  Sleeping on the couch with the trusty Dr. Hammond at my side.  He only left me to see how Rowdy was doing downstairs.

4)  Minute Maid Fruit Punch.

5)  Scriptures and more on my phone.  It's great to be able to bring up the YW lesson, conference talks, scriptures, and other church-related things so quickly and easily.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sick Days, Modern Medicine and Fluids...

are three things I was grateful for today.

I'm also grateful for Oliva, the lady who cleans our house.  She is really sweet, and our home is always so orderly and clean when she's done with it.

I'm grateful for rest.  This cold/flu/whatever it is is kicking my butt.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today's Gratefuls

I was grateful today just to be able to get through my workday.  This rotten cold is, well, rotten.

Gratitude on the 13th

Tuesday night, I was coughing my lungs out, my nose was stuffy and I felt tired and achy all over.  What if this was a severe allergic reaction to my kitten?  Rowdy asked me if it was worth it to keep Ollie.  All I could do was burst into tears, because I would feel horrible if we had to do that.  He loves us, and we love him.

So like a five-year-old, I prayed to either get better or know what was going on.  In the middle of the night, I woke up and realized that it was a bad cold, not allergies.  Wednesday morning, I was talking to one of my techs, who told me that the same virus was going around our department.

I'm grateful to be able to pray like a five-year-old and have that prayer answered.  I'm grateful that I have a cold and will eventually feel better.  I'm grateful that we don't have to give Oliver up just yet.

I'm also grateful for soup.  I had a Tom Yum soup from the neighborhood fast-Thai place for lunch, and Rowdy made his fabulous chicken soup for dinner.

I'm grateful for cold medicine and for my section chief who covered my cases in the afternoon.  I'm very grateful that our workload wasn't bad at all for a change.

I'm grateful for my sweet husband, as always.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today, I'm grateful to be a listening ear for people who needed to vent.

I'm grateful for children's singing voices.  They are so cute.

I'm grateful for the ancient Neapolitans who invented pizza.  It's National Pizza Day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran Gratitude

At the risk of sounding trite, after reading countless tributes to veterans and current military servicemen and -women today, I am very grateful to those who have served and who are currently serving to defend our country.  It takes a special person to do that.

I am just as grateful for their spouses.  Keeping the home together during a deployment is tough.  Making the transition when your military spouse comes home is tough.  But these people, mostly women but men too, do their best to make it work.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Tonight, I am so very grateful for the Young Women's program, and particularly for the people I work with in our YW.

I wanted our Young Women in Excellence program to be low-key this year, but with great content.  Most of our girls are very busy during the week, so Sunday night seemed like the best time to get the maximum number of people together.  I wanted good talks, maybe a musical number, and refreshments.  One of my girls suggested that each girl put up a display of the things they are doing, maybe using shoes to tie in the theme of "Stand Ye in Holy Places".

So that's what we did.  The speakers were phenomenal.  The musical number came off well.  The girls put up good displays.  We had delicious cupcakes.  I've tried to write a coherent paragraph with details, but I can't.  Just know that it was great, and I am so very grateful for how wonderful the YW program is, and on a grander scale, how wonderful the gospel is and that those things are in my life.

Nine and Part of Ten

Yesterday, I was grateful to be able to go to the temple.  Grateful that it is so close, than I'm worthy to go, and just the fact that there are temples on the earth and the authority to administer the covenants that are made there.

Last week, I was at Chipotle, and the guy right behind me in line at the cash register leaned over and said, "I'm LDS, too."  Wha?  How?  He had seen my temple recommend in my wallet as I was paying.  He thought that it was really cool to see another LDS person out and about in the wide world.  It is cool to know that there are many, many, many other people who believe as I do, who are doing what they can to be worthy of temple blessings.

Today, I am grateful that Rowdy made it almost two years before having a Crohn's flare.  He woke up at 4:30 with some issues.  He's hanging in there and being strong.  I wish that I could do something to help take his pain away and make the flare stop.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Eight is Enough

1.  Cuddly kittens
2.  Antihistamines and inhalers (see above)
3.  Dinner and a movie with my dearest love
4.  I'll never have to worry about Somalian pirates
5.  People that are fighting for our country
6.  A workday without tons of phone calls
7.  Pain relievers
8.  Comfy bed

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Blog

I am experiencing obsessive feelings about my new kitten, Mr. Oliver Hammond.  This mania could end up overrunning all blog and Facebook posts without having another outlet.  I feel much like Mr. Dick from David Copperfield.  As he struggled to write his Memorial and in his employment as a legal copyist, King Charles' head couldn't help intruding on his thoughts and writing.  His solution to the problem was to have a second supply of paper available to write about the unfortunate monarch when the mood struck.

So, I started a new blog, "The Secret Cat Fancier's Blog", to divert any writing/photos of Oliver.  If you are interested in such a thing, feel free to visit.  If not, you don't have to worry about being inundated with cutesy cat pictures and stories.

Six and Seven

I'm so grateful that my cousin's grandson was able to celebrate finishing chemotherapy for leukemia.  Two years ago, it looked like he wouldn't make it this far.

Yesterday, I was very grateful for two generous nurses who shared their food with me.

I am grateful for clean drinking water.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And Here We Have Day 5

Grateful for:

The good behavior of our kitten, so far.

Such a good planning meeting for the ward Christmas party.

Inspiring thoughts and talks that give comfort and ideas about how to comfort others.

Twenty-five or so years ago, I never thought that I would say that I was grateful for my job in a bank.  I would have been a lot happier if I had been grateful back then, but I am always finding ways that job helped me.  I am particularly grateful for the kajillion customer service training meetings I was required to attend.  Those skills are priceless in my current job.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ollie, Ollie Not Exactly Free

Before I tell the story of Oliver, I want to express my gratitude for friends near and far.  I'm grateful that we ran into the Asburys and the Gefroms at the pizza place this evening.  I'm grateful to have had a good old chat with Jacy and Amy.  They are amazing women.  I'm grateful for the spiritual strength of my friend, Amberly.  Thanks for sharing about your new nephew's struggle so that we can all add our prayers to the Banks' and Hunt's.

I'm also grateful for my dear husband.  He spent quite a bit of time getting cat supplies, then three hours at the Humane Society today, all so I could have a cat.

Okay, and now Oliver Hammond, our new housemate.  We wanted a Russian Blue cat, because they are on the list of less-allergenic cats, plus they are cute.  The Humane Society had a five-month-old kitten and a mature cat, so we dropped by on Sunday afternoon with our friends, Mimi and Herb, to check them out.

The San Diego Humane Society building is beautiful, by the way.  I thought it would be more of an industrial building, but it was very airy and clean.

The Russian Blue kitten, Seymour, was in a room with six other kittens.  Seymour was curled under a chair, taking a nap.  Several other kittens were gamboling around the room.  One in particular, Oliver, a cute little black-and-white kitty, was being particularly playful and cute.  Seymour did wake up for a couple of minutes, and man, was he adorable--the perfect Russian Blue.  He seemed to be very skittish, though.

This morning, Rowdy and I decided that he would go to the Humane Society during the day and check Seymour out one-on-one.  If everything went well, we'd get him.  We even thought of an awesome name for him, Oslo Dahlstromovich Briccovski.

Unfortunately, Seymour blew his audition.  He didn't want to be petted.  He was much more interested in trying to nurse on the other kittens than play.  It was just a disaster, really.  If we wanted a cat that just curled up under a chair, we would  buy a stuffed cat.

I was able to leave work a little early and meet up with Rowdy and the cats.  Oliver won me over, even though he makes me sniffle and wheeze.  A $125 payment to the San Diego Humane Society, as well a a good chunk of money spent at Petco, and Oliver was ours.

He is getting acclimated to our house in our upstairs bathroom for the next couple of days.  We're trying to get him to bond primarily with me, so I brought him home in my car, introduced him to the bathroom and have been in to play with him.  He has let me pet him quite a bit, but he's not ready to let me pick him up.  He only cried for a few seconds after I shut the door.

We thought of calling him Oslo, but it doesn't fit him.  So he's Oliver Hammond, after Richard Hammond of TopGear and the little car he named Oliver.  Too bad, though, because Oslo Dahlstromovich Briccovski is a pretty dope name.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Grateful, Grateful, Grateful

I'm very grateful to have had an easy call weekend.  Last week was mentally and physically brutal, so an easy weekend was needed.

I'm grateful that my mess-up with the topping for our chicken pot pie for company wasn't a total fail.  It was still good--not as good as when it has a biscuit crust instead of an "impossible pie" crust.  The filling is what saved it.

I'm grateful for the chance to get to know a new couple in the ward a little better, and to have the Elders over for dinner also.  

Bonus grateful:

I'm grateful that Rowdy didn't shoot his eye out.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Grateful Days

Little things that I am grateful for today:

Cell phones, to be able to keep in touch with Rowdy while he's away at a pistol competition.

A healthy body that can run, a pretty pathway to run on, podcasts to make the time go faster and good weather.

That lady that I always see running around Lake Murray with a big smile on her face.  Okay, she looks a little cray-cray, but she's having a good time.  It makes me smile and enjoy my run more, too.

Rowdy's Granny, who always had candy at her house. Some people have a candy drawer.  She had a candy ROOM.  It was a bedroom that had stuff stashed everywhere--dresser drawers, the closet, maybe even under the mattress.  I don't know. I saw boxes of thin mints and cordial cherries at Dollar Tree that reminded me of her today.  The thing is, they have to be properly stale to really taste good.  These boxes will not be properly aged for a few more years.

And speaking of grandparents, my great-uncle Hubert passed away last week at 94.  After reading his obituary, I went to Google Maps to find the church house in Pocatello, Idaho, where they will be holding his funeral.  Then I followed the map to my grandpa and grandma Dahlstrom's, then "walked" the few blocks to Grandma Bright's, then down the street and around the corner to Great-grandma Dahlstrom's.  My grandmas were different in personality from each other (and "different" in some ways, I guess), but they were loving and I am very grateful for them and for the ways they loved and shaped me.  Grandma Dahlstrom's house smelled clean and fresh.  Toast with really good butter on it, buttered popcorn and a Coke, lilacs, rose bushes and crossword puzzles make me think of her.  Grandma Bright's house smelled like baking.  Quilts, delicious baked goods, pancakes with bacon in them, rooms with lots of beds for the grandkids to have slumber parties in, temple work and service make me think of her.  Great-grandma's house doesn't have a particular smell memory for me, but she was definitely the type of grandma who had a big clump of ribbon candy in a bowl in her living room.  She had kind of a high, reedy voice, and she was very gentle.

One more bowl of chicken rice soup for breakfast.

The love of education, which is making a little thought brew in the back of my mind.  I'm starting to think about perhaps getting a Master of Health Administration degree.  I have no desire to be a hospital administrator (they are the devil and nobody likes them), but I'm interested in what is going on in healthcare these days.  Sometimes people (patients, friends) say things that come from frustration, illness and misinformation.  I'd like to be able to really understand the issues and the system to be able to at least try to educate them.

The glorious feedback loop that comes from expressing gratitude for all of the things that God has given us.

And here's Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Apostles to tell us more:

Thanks, Elder Nelson!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gratitude Month, Day One

So, today is the first of November, and time to blog daily about the things for which I am grateful.  Here's a somewhat novel one for my first entry:


Last month's YW topic was "Becoming More Christlike".  Interestingly, one of the weekly lessons was titled, "How can I become more patient?"  Perhaps I hadn't realized the importance of patience as a Godly quality.  But after all, how in the world would God be able to deal with us and our whining and complaining without perfect patience?

I think that I can be pretty patient overall, but I have been trying to improve over the past week.  Of course, since I was trying to improve, I felt very tested.  The last two days at work were particularly trying.  What I found was that my day went much more smoothly, no matter what was happening, when I was working hard to exercise patience.  Who knew?

Please enjoy this terrific, short video with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  Would you be the kid who at the marshmallow right away, or would you wait?  I think that I was a pretty obedient child, and I don't really like marshmallows.  I'm pretty good at delayed gratification.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Best Ingredient! #4--Food!

Since I burned 8,738 Cal extra during the Muffin Man, I made the most of my caloric intake.

First of all, the gels:

My friend, Stephanie introduced me to this flavor.  It's now my favorite.

A seasonal flavor from Gu that is amazing.  No weird aftertaste, just pure peppermint goodness.

If you eat this with a Chocolate Outrage Gu, I swear you will think you were eating German Chocolate cake.

I always had water and a bottle of Endurox on my bike or in my car for after runs.
I prefer the Tangy Orange flavor.  The Fruit Punch has kind of a fruit-punch-flavored barf smell and taste.

This gave me the chance to indulge in two of my favorite restaurants, East Village and Tender Greens.

A Monk's Bowl at East Village.  It's really bi bim bap.  So marvelous with the rice and the meat and the veggies and the egg. 

Tender Greens' salt-and-pepper roast chicken, spinach salad with goat cheese and hazelnuts and mashed potatoes.  They make really lovely mashed potatoes.
I had some good home-cooked meals, too, and lots of deli turkey with crackers or as a wrap or something.  I also had a burger and fries at Smashburger with a scoop of Baskin-Robbins' Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream for dessert.  On another day, I had a Peanut Buster Parfait from Dairy Queen.  It was a very good week for food.

And the piece de resistance!  Homemade blueberry muffins on Saturday morning to celebrate!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Muffin Man Ingredient #3: Perserverance

Remember these people?
Yes, my peeps who pulled a handcart across the plains.  Whenever I was having a hard time, I thought of them.  My pain was self-inflicted.  I could have stopped at any time, and who would have cared?  But I come from stubborn stock.  I made a goal and I wanted to stick with it.  

However, this clip from Sealab 2021 came to mind several times.  How to keep from being incredibly bored?  Podcasts like "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!", "Car Talk" and "Fresh Air" were more helpful to me while riding and running than music.  Swimming was just a mental game, trying to think of ways to break down the laps into manageable bites.

It would have been nice to have people to train with, but:

1)  I'm socially kind of backwards and have a hard time asking people to join me and
2)  It's hard to find people with the same interests, pace and time (but that can be overcome, if you are not socially backward).

Another way to break the monotony is to pick different locations for your run, ride and swim.  I do know people who had to do much of their Muffin Man indoors due to time and other constraints.  I am lucky to live in a beautiful city, and I was able to have this scenery to get me through:
The Coronado Bridge from Tidelands Park

Coronado Beach

Lake Miramar--a 5-mile loop

Lake Murray--a little over a 5 mile loop

Lake Murray

  Windansea Beach, La Jolla
San Diego Temple!!  I finally took the Rose Creek path to the Rose Canyon trail and over to the temple.  So easy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Muffin Man Ingredient #2

The next ingredient is Time.  Like a good physics problem, the Muffin Man equation involves time and distance.  The distance if fixed, so it helps to have adequate time to complete the goal. Fortunately, I had the week off of work, with only three appointments to consider:  the Toro y Moi concert on Tuesday night; temple baptisms with the Youth on Wednesday night; and a dental appointment on Tuesday afternoon.  I had time to do long rides and runs, time to recover and replenish, and time to get to the places I wanted to do my events.  In total, I worked out for 16 hours over the six days of my Muffin Man.  (An Ironman has a 17 hour time limit, for reference.)   Remember, I am a slowpoke, and I hadn't been training much before that.  My runs were often run/walks.  Your results may vary.

My recording devices were my good, old Timex for the swims and MapMyRun app on my iPhone.

This was the time for my first 1.2 mile swim.  The next one, two days later, was ten minutes faster.

The longest ride was just over four hours (50 miles), and the longest run was two hours (11 miles).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What Makes a Muffin Man?

I finally did a Muffin Man!  That was 112 miles on a bike, 26.2 miles on foot and 2.4 miles swimming, all completed in six consecutive days.

What does it take to do a Muffin Man?  Over the next few days, I will share with you how I did mine.  Maybe you will be inspired to do your own.

Ingredient #1:  A Plan

You know what they say, "Plan to work; work the plan".

First, I broke down the distances into segments.  If you want to do something every day, the breakdown is this:

Run--3.75 mi/day
Swim--24.1 lengths/day (25 m pool)
Ride--16 mi/day

I wanted to finish it in five days, and I had most of each day to do long rides or runs.

Next, I worked the plan.  Not to say that I stuck to it exactly, but pretty close.  If you get behind, it just makes things more difficult.  On Friday, instead of riding 20 miles and running 5, I had to run 11 miles, in addition to riding the 20, because I didn't run 5 miles on Wednesday like I'd planned.  I also had to finish up with a 2.2 mile walk on Saturday.

Saturday, September 7, 2013



  [nuh-lip-er-uh]  Show IPA
noun, plural nul·lip·a·rae  [nuh-lip-uh-ree]  Show IPA Obstetrics .
a woman who has never borne a child.

I thought I had fully mourned my lack of genetic posterity, but lately, I've had several discussions with various people about various aspects of fertility.  It's made me a little bit melancholy at times and definitely introspective.

It started when I had a first visit with a new Gyn to explore ways of managing perimenopausal symptoms.

"How many babies?" she said.

"Huh?" was my reply, partly because I don't hear clearly.

"How many babies have you had?"

"Well, none," and left it at that.  

"It's a long story," I thought.  Married thirteen years the first time.  We weren't particularly careful during the first part of the marriage, but I never got pregnant.  From what I have heard, he and his second wife were having trouble reproducing, so maybe it was a "boy problem", as my Reproductive Gynecologist friend, Li-Sheh, says.

It was a troubled marriage from the get-go, so a good thing that there weren't children involved at the end.

Rowdy had three kids at a young age, and had a vasectomy at 24 ("Best $600 I ever spent," he told me).  I never expected to marry a man with kids, but not only did it feel completely right to marry Rowdy, it felt completely right to have J, K and M in my life.  Now I have son-in-law who is a wonderful addition to our family.

Besides that, I have lots of amazing nephews and nieces.  I'm even an honorary auntie to the neighbor kids.  I've been called "Uncle Diane" by more than one kid, and I think that it isn't just a function of the particular age of the child.  I think it might be that 1)  I tend to roughhouse with the kids in a way that aunties usually don't and 2)  I'm not someone's mom.  So I must be an uncle, right?

I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity, through church service, to work closely with children from 18 months to 18 years old.  It's not "mothering" in the strictest sense, but it's a chance to learn from children, learn about children, and positively influence children.  I love seeing them grow and develop spiritually and intellectually.  

Our wonderful Beehive advisor taught a lesson about parenting to all of our YW last month.  She used as a teaching tool a conference talk that probably is the most-divisive talk in LDS-dom in the early 21st Century, "Mothers Who Know".  She handed it out, and I cringed.  One of my counselors gave me a reassuring wink.  She could read my mind.  

By sheer luck of the draw, I was given the first section to discuss, titled, "Mothers Who Know Bear Children".  Ohhhhhh...uuuuuuggggghhhhh.  How to deal with this?  I could and maybe should have told the girls that sometimes, there are Conference talks that make us really have to dig deep in order not to be offended and to figure out what we can learn from the information presented.  But what I did say is that I was having to really think to find a way to present my section in a way that I felt comfortable with.  The point of the section was that children are important.  We need to value them.  This is important whether or not we have children of our own.

Fortunately, my YW board is wonderful.  It turns out that none of us were 100% comfortable with the way that the talk was presented originally and in print.  Eventually, thanks to all of our silent prayers about how to teach the girls about mothering in particular and parenting in general, we changed the title of the talk to "People Who Know".  People who know value children.  People who know are leaders.  People who know stand strong and immovable.  People who know are teachers.  People who know are nurturers.

My sister, Karen, shared a great quote with me from Ardeth Kapp (who herself is a nullipara)L

                     "You need not possess children to love them. Loving is not synonymous with possessing, and possessing is not necessarily loving. The world is filled with people to be loved, guided, taught, lifted and inspired." 

I love that our Heavenly Parents have a plan that makes it possible for me to be a part of a family and to have the opportunity to mother in a lot of different ways, now and in the eternities.  Do I sometimes still wonder what it would be like to raise children that were half "me"?  Yeah, sure.  But I don't feel like my life is any less-rich than it would've been had I borne children.  Things are never the way that we imagine them, anyway.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Eternal Rest

In Hurricane, Utah, presented without further comment:

These Are My People

My forebears figured in our recent trip to Southern Utah and Yellowstone.

On our way up to Salt Lake from Zion National Park (quite beautiful and the subject of a subsequent post), we took the back way that included Parowan, Utah.  My great-grandma Dahlstrom, nee Marybelle Wardell, was born there.  I wanted to swing by the city cemetery to find any of my ancestors' gravestones.

I found John Wardell's headstone first, but Alexander Orton and his wife, Jane Holmes, took some doing.  Here they are:

 I don't know why his wife that I descended from wasn't buried next to him.  His other wife has a headstone to the right of him.  I need to find out if I have any biographies from that family in my files.

 I like that it says at the bottom:  A tender mother and a faithful friend.  What a lovely way to be remembered.
Rowdy was impressed that they had this plaque affixed to their headstones. They were in the Third Handcart Company, dragging their possessions across the plains in a small cart.  No horses, no oxen, no nice wagon, just a handcart. Yup. That's my people.  Faith in every footstep!

One night in Jackson Hole, we were eating at a pizzeria.  We had spent the entire day in Yellowstone and had not much but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for nourishment, so we were very hungry.  Rowdy ordered an 18" pizza.  We were seated next to a party of elderly Europeans, and as people of that demographic are wont to do, they STARED at us and our pizza.  I realized that I could play it one of two ways, either be irritated and offended that they were obviously thinking that we were piggy Americans, or smile and make conversation.  So, I chose option two and started talking to the little old man sitting next to me.

It turns out that they were from Denmark.  Aha!  My great-grandma was Danish!  Huzzah!  Thanks, Grandma Chaffee!  That made big points right there.  He and his wife and several others were on a three-week trip across North America, starting at San Francisco and ending in NYC.  He said, "I wanted to see how two young people like yourselves could eat all of that food", but I said, "No, that would be unwise.  We are going to take most of it home and eat it tomorrow."  He was very impressed that we would be so young and fit because, as he said to me, "Isn't it true that many Americans are fat?"  We chatted for a few more minutes, until they had to leave and catch their bus to continue their trip.  He gave me a handshake, hug and kiss on the cheek and Rowdy a handshake and hearty clap on the back of the neck.  It was fun to turn things around and make friends.  I hope that they have a great trip across the country.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Science Experiment

I've always wondered about the statement in the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants section 89, for the uninitiated) that says that tobacco is for healing bruises.  An athletic training class I had as an undergrad included a recipe and some dish on the BYU football players.

This last week at the Texas Tornado Bootcamp (many more pictures and stories to come), I dumped the bike two or three times and had a pretty good bruise on my thigh.  Since we were in Texas, and chaw/snus/dip was in abundance, I had the opportunity to put tobacco to its heaven-approved purpose.

Step 1:  Bum some Skoal off of someone.  This actually had a nice, peach smell.

Step 2:  Place the tobacco on the bruise.

Step 3:  Cover with gauze.

Step 4:  Wrap loosely with an ace bandage.

Before and after:

The only difference is the lighting.  Foo.  The moral of the story is not to use processed tobacco.  A plain, old tobacco leaf might have worked.  Or, I could have lightly simmered the leaves to get the juices to leak out a little more.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Get Used to Disappointment

Today's disappointments:

  • I drove over to Mission Bay Aquatic Center to paddleboard on my afternoon off.  It is lovely here today.  However, MBAC's rental desk is not open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the "winter".  
  • According to tracking information, two things I ordered for our upcoming New Beginnings (tomorrow!) must have arrived while we were in Las Vegas (a gross place).  We haven't seen them, and I hope that our neighbors picked them up and forgot to bring them over to us.  Inquiries have been made.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Targets of Steel

I went to my first shooting competition yesterday.  It was a "steel match", meaning that it is an indoor match where you just shoot at stationary steel targets with a pistol.  Definitely more my speed right now compared to the IDPA or other matches that have scenarios where you have to run or shoot around things, sometimes things that are moving back and forth.

We only shot two of the three rounds.  Corrected for that, I was 24th out of 33 people, and the leader of the women who competed.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about that.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Change Is a Comin'

I think that I'm perimenopausal.  Yuck.  It's not like I have actually used my reproductive equipment ever or feel sentimental about menstruation, but I do not relish the many years ahead of the symptoms of menopause.

Right now, it seems that low back pain, headache, fatigue, bloating, vague pelvic cramps and intermittent crankiness (more than usual) are the symptoms.

Anyone else of my cohort going through this?  How are you handling your symptoms?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bedrest Care Package

Pinterest really doesn't have much in the way of DIY care packages for pregnant women on bedrest.  Here's what I came up with for the one I made yesterday:

Bubbles to have something to play with when her little daughter visits.

Good lip balm.

A manicure set.

Treats in sunshiny colors, like gum, lemon drops and Goldfish.

Resistance bands to stretch and get a little exercise with.

Good body lotion.

Dry shampoo.

And a couple of other little things, like pony tail holders and hairbands and a notepad.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Rowdy Style Day

Today I:

Helped a neighbor move some furniture out of his house.  He's moving to Cambodia; you know, like you do.

Worked half a day, listening to music as much as I could.

Drove all around.

Went shopping to find fun things for a friend who is on bedrest.

Got my motorcycle permit (finally!).

Shot guns.
This is a super-fun gun to shoot.

Had real Mexican food for dinner.

Visited with a friend.

It was a very good day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tender Mercies

I think "the tender mercies of the Lord" has become a trite phase in LDS culture.  However, it does apply to experiences I had today.  They were just little things that made me feel better about life in general and my place in it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

20 for 20

The San Diego Temple was dedicated 20 years ago.  In celebration of that milestone, our Stake Presidency suggested that we do something like attend the temple 20 times this year, or find 20 ancestors' names to take to the temple.  My thought was, "I think I've come to a dead end with family history work.  How in the world can I find 20 more names?"

So, I came home, opened Family Search and Ancestry, and started looking.  And praying.  Well, I prayed for help before I even got home from Stake Conference.  You have to know where to look when things seem like they're at a dead end.  Before I knew it, I had more than 20 names.  More. Than. 20. Names.  It took less than an hour.

So if you are doubting your ability to find your ancestors, don't.  They are there.  They are waiting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Where I've Been/Where I'm Going

I've been thinking about New Year's Resolutions this week, including if I want to make any.  I, like most people, don't follow through with most of the resolutions I make.

My solution is to chronicle some of the things that I accomplished in the last year and list a few things that I know I will be doing in 2013.  2012's accomplishments may not have been covered by any resolutions I made on January 1, 2012, but I am proud of them nonetheless.

1)  Early last year, I attended a Breast Imaging Boot Camp at the American College of Radiology.  It had been years since I had read mammograms, so I needed a refresher.  I completed that, and then the 700 mammograms that were required to meet MQSA regulations.

2)  I was appointed co-chair of my department's Patient Safety Committee.  As a committee, we have rolled out training information to the staff and assisted in the development of Best Practices in Patient Safety.

3)  Rowdy and I traveled a lot last year, which was fun, educational, invigorating and sometimes exhausting.

4)  I rode a horse several times without falling off or being too scared.

5)  I learned how to play the bass guitar.

6)  My sister-in-law, Molly, recruited me to be in a wellness competition, beginning in August of last year.  As a result of that, I lost some pesky pounds and inches and returned to the boot camp classes at my gym.  Plus, it was fun to get to know some of my teammates better.

Being called to be the YW president or being named Radiologist of the Year don't really rate as accomplishments, because I certainly was not lobbying or working to be either of those things.  They just happened, and I have tried to stay worthy of those responsibilities.

Usually, my resolutions include things like learning to play an instrument or improving my ability to speak a foreign language.  Those would be great, but I think that what keeps me from achieving those goals is the amount of time that I would need to dedicate to those pursuits.  Turns out that just don't have the long-term motivation or focus for those things, or the time to spend every week in classes.  If I could sneak that in, or if I felt so strongly about it that it became a priority, I would make it happen.

There are some things that I see myself accomplishing this year:

1)  Rowdy and I have made a goal to read the scriptures together every day.  We are 100% so far this year.  

2)  I am going to learn to ride a motorcycle, starting two weeks from tomorrow.  The point of this is to be ready to go to the Texas Tornado Boot Camp in April. If you don't think that looks like tons of fun, I feel sorry for you.

3)  This morning, I went to the TRX class at my gym for the first time.  Of course, since I missed three weeks of boot camp due to travel and injury I am not in prime shape, but that class kicked my butt!  I resolve to keep going and master that dang class.

Who knows what else will come along during the year to inspire me?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Budapest Photos

Buda Castle from across the Danube (not blue, by the way).

The ghetto appearance of the base of Buda Castle.  Lots of plywood,  broken glass and grafitti.

The Hungarian Parliament building across the Danube from Buda Castle.

Rowdy and VI.  Two world-famous redheads.  They look a little bit similar, don't they?

The Terror Museum.  Aiyiyi.  Like going to Dachau or Auschwitz.  Google it.  Terrifying.

The Iron Curtain.  Not as big as you thought it would be, is it?

My Rad Life!