Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Upholding tradition

For as long as I can remember I’ve kept a tradition going strong on my birthday. I stay up (or set my alarm) for 3:02am. Why that time? Because that’s when I was born.

I had to ask my mom how it all started since the earliest memory I have of this is around 8 or 9, and she told me when I was either 6 or 7, I declared that I wanted to stay up until 3:02am so I could celebrate the minute I was born. Magically, my mom agreed. Either I was a very persuasive child or she just loved me too darn much to say no, but either way, I got my wish, and up I stayed…by myself…while everyone else slept.

From that day on I made it my personal tradition. Through the years, I’ve either stayed up by watching loads of movies and book reading, or would set my alarm for 3:02am so I could wake up to wish myself a happy birthday. Anyone very close to me knows this, and even supports it…I think mainly because THEY don’t have to stay up with me; but its been fun for me to welcome in a new age by myself each time.

So, 33 is here. 33. A number that means…kinda little to me. I don’t feel that age and I don’t (think) I look it but I am and with every wisp of gray I have, I welcome it.

I kiss 32 goodbye.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Heikenji Temple

Remember that time I went to Japan? Sometimes it feels like it was so long ago. Ok, its really pretty much “all-the-time”. Its only been a couple months but I tend to ignore the short time frame since I’m avoiding watching the calendar these days.

I want to share my photos. I want to tell the stories but when it comes down to it I can’t find the heart. So with a lot of effort, I’m forcing the heart…which this just reminded me I have a photo book online I need to mess with before they deactivate it since I haven’t touched it in…well, five weeks. ok, messed with it so it’s good for another five weeks.

The more I’m in (or was in) Japan, the more I became more comfortable exploring on my own. G-man was always working, so that left me the entire day to do anything and everything, and even for this hermit, sitting in the apt. gets old after awhile. Only problem was I never knew where I wanted to go. Sometimes locations were over an hour’s worth of multiple train rides and if I didn’t leave before 11, I felt it was a huge waste of time, so I’d always stick with semi-close places. Another factor I kept letting effect me, was the cost of those hour long train rides. They would deplete my train pass’s balance in a heartbeat and that was always so hard to swallow.

One day, I decided to see Kawasaki, and more specifically, the Heikenji Temple. I found this fabulous website called and she fills you in on everything you need to know, so I felt I was well prepared going in. It was easy to access, and I got to walk around the grounds and poke my head into a few places. I felt a little out of sorts since clearly something was going on that day, but I didn’t know what and kept out of everyone’s way as best I could.

Each person would touch every gravestone as they passed.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sitting in Vegas

I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past six days and if there’s one thing I’ve not done is gone to the strip. I can honestly say I probably won’t go to the strip in all the time I’ll be here and it’ll be for awhile. Call it a product of being born and raised  here; I simply have no need or desire to go there.

My friend who’s husband deployed recently asked me if I wouldn’t mind staying with her and her two kids for awhile, and after much thought, agreed. But first I agreed to a two week trial, because let’s be honest, two weeks with me is no walk in the park. I’m high maintenance and enjoy my quiet and alone time (which I warned her), and well, she has two kids, so we laughingly agreed to the trial, and I dove right in.

I’m seeing what its like with two kids. And I’m seeing what its like to walk out the door to take a drive while she stays back with her two kids. …kidding! Things have been fine here, and we’re getting along nicely. (she reads my blog so she’ll get the joke).

For me to get to Las Vegas, its an eight hour drive through the desert and if ever there was a worse drive, this is it. Though the drive from New Mexico to Texas ranks really high on the horribly miserable scale. There’s a certain point in the drive that I love though. Its held a lot of memories for me, and no matter what, I’ll always keep an eye out for it on the I-15 going to Los Angeles. I don’t know what its called, how it got there, or if there’s anyone else (other than my family) who sees it, but there’s a “cat” on the side of a mountain, I criss-cross promise.
Do you see it? The ears up top, then you’re looking at the back, and the tail swooping to the left side…
As a kid going to summer camp it would always be my marker to signify us almost there. This massive outline of a cat on an otherwise normal looking mountain just sitting there, never touched after over twenty years of seeing it. I’m always amazed it’s still there.

When I decided I’d stop to get a photo, I took the exit and planned on stopping right on the edge of the road. Only problem with that was this exit is in the middle of nowhere, and the edge of the road happened to (randomly) have another car coming to stop to get out to stretch. Honestly, what are the odds of another car getting off of this lonely exit?

Since I didn’t want to be a creeper and stop along side their car, I did the only other thing that came to me: drive right into the desert. Which I thought was a decent idea since the dirt was compact…until I began driving on it and learned it was in fact sand, and it was soft sand at that. Soon I was doing everything possible to not get my car stuck in the middle of nowhere on a 106 degree day. Of course, my thought process was to continue driving deeper and deeper into the desert because I was already “in it”, so I did, knowing there was no place for me to turn my car around, but I figured I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.

I finally stopped and enjoyed the hot scenery. Nothing was around me; just sand, weeds, and more sand. After driving for over 5 hours, I had the urge to run, and ran to a little slope for a better vantage point. Thinking now, I don’t necessarily recommend running in the middle of a desert with no water on a 106 degree day, (just in case you have the urge yourself), but I did it and loved having my legs move again.
When I got ready to face the fact of getting my car out of the middle of nowhere, I saw the other car was gone, and decided the best and only option for me was to put my car in reverse and keep my tires as straight as possible as I backtracked my way to the freeway; and thank the good Lord it worked.

It was a nice adventure that I was glad to have break up my long trip. Now I happily say I have a keepsake (and a story) of the cat on the side of the mountain.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

This is what happens when..

On Friday, my parents and I drove to a little old mining town called Columbia. Its near Sonora and it was cute and quaint and all those feelings you feel when you walk around a small town. It was hot beyond hot and we ducked into the stores as much as we could to escape it.

After walking around, watching people sift for gold, listening to the wonderful band, and watch little kids climb up greased poles for money, we headed back home to wait out the firework show later that night.
My sister was having a little gathering on their church lawn since it was a good view of the city’s fireworks, so we arrived and I set up my camera. We all chatted and hung out as we waited for the show to begin, and I was able to somehow convince my sister to make me a s’more as I sat there doing nothing. She’s a good sister, she is. I on the other hand…

As the show began, I took photos and couldn’t help but think how paltry the fireworks were. Nothing like what I’ve seen other cities do, and nothing like what a “County’s fireworks” display should be. This was the first time I had my camera set on a tripod with a remote, following online tutorials, so I was excited to see how they’d turn out, even if the show wasn’t spectacular. Turns out I left my shutter open for far too long, and it left many (all) of my shots streaky. And when the finale hit, well, you’ll see.
The finale: Here is a great example of what happens when the city shoots all of the fireworks off in the exact same spot, and you leave your shutter open for 6 seconds too long. A big bright white mess.
And this is how the majority of them turned out…
I’m pretty sure this is when my niece walked into my tripod.
So unless you want this look, I advise you follow the professionals who say to keep your shutter open from 2-6 seconds. Not the 8-13 seconds that I did.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Push me up

If you caught me on instagram the past couple days, you’ll see that I’ve offered up a challenge. A pushup challenge. Don’t roll your eyes just yet, this one is fun, and easy, and just plain impossible to resist. Promise.

I got to calculating…I can do that now that I got an A- in college math (boom!), and I found that as of the first of July, there were 183 days left in the year. After determining I wanted to do at least 1,000 pushups by January 1st, I again calculated (I’m so math smart) that that would take 6 pushups a day.

Easy peasy, right!?

That’s what I said.
photo 1 (15)
What makes it so great is if you do 10, you only have to do 4 the next day. Do 20, and look at that, you can take a couple days off if you want. Or if you’re feeling crazy inspired, stick with 20 every day and see how far you can go.

I was so happy to see that I had quite the happy response and a good solid 10 lovely ladies agreed to the challenge. I confess, I made sure it was a ‘desirable’ number for others to want to join. 6 evokes “ease”, don’t you agree?

For myself, I am doing a lot more than 6 daily, though I don’t want to say my number because I don’t want anyone to get discouraged and think what they’re doing isn’t enough. 6 is more than a lot of us do every day, and 6 will certainly make a big difference in the way your arms look when you do them over and over again. And I can guarantee that after awhile of doing 6, you’ll blow past it and think you could do 6 in your sleep with how far you’ve come.

I’ve had some say they can’t even do 1, and that’s okay too. Start out with one and build up to two. Do girl pushups (I am), and don’t even think twice about feeling like you have to do guy pushups. I have this mental torment at least every 3-4 months thinking I need to ditch girl and do guy pushups, so I will for months, then not care again, and go back to girl. Its one of those things where I think I have something to prove but no one to prove it to, so back to girlies I go. This is me though, and currently I’m happy doing girl pushups.

If you want to join in, please do! I wanted some fun accountability, so the more the merrier. There’s plenty of tutorials on how to do the proper form, (Mark does a great job at explaining AND showing the right/wrong way. Jump to 48 seconds in his video); but here’s the gist: back straight (NO arch), neck/head straight, abs in tight, hands at shoulder level (not by head), and control the pushup.

So, you want to join in? You’ll get great arms because of it. Nice arms with only 20 seconds of pushups a day..if that, by the end of the year?? Come on, you know you want to join. If not for you, then do it for me sacrificing my hands on the scalding pavement for these photos. My devotion to you is worth my burnt hands…

Yes, I did many takes and created my own hashtag. I blame the heat for all my actions. (kidding)…

So, here we go! Better arms by 2015, we can do it!

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