Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Colonoscopy Brings Out Your True Colors

Getting a colonoscopy is such a treat! You get to drink down bottles of magnesium citrate, spend hours in the restroom, fast for at least 24 hours, suffer the side effects of Demerol, and best of all, have a couple of complete strangers look inside your bum!

Right before the anesthesiologist put me to sleep, I remember looking at the doctor and saying, "I sure hope my butt isn't the ugliest one you've ever seen!"

The next thing I knew, I was walking to the car with Aaron holding me up. I found out later that Demerol turns me into a curser. In real life, I rarely swear (except in my head) but Aaron said I repeatedly sat up in the recovery bed and proclaimed, "Guess what? My A#* doesn't even hurt!" I also hugged the nurse and told her she was my best friend in the world. Of course, I remember none of this!

It turns out that a colonoscopy gives you peace of mind, but is also a major source of embarrassment. Thank goodness I don't have to curse again until I'm 50!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cali in the News

Double Shocker . . . We Went to New York, Jersey, and Boston!

I think I may have to be committed to an asylum after the past 2 weeks of travel. We were lucky enough to get out of Heathrow before all of the volcano stuff happened, but then we headed off again -- this time to the East Coast.

We took a 5 1/2 hr. flight into New York, met my brother in Manhattan to get his apartment keys, traveled to his place in Jersey by subway, and then took the subway back to NY for a little sightseeing. Crazy day. We had a few hours to kill before Caleb got off of work, so we got on Aaron's iphone to find some major tourist attractions to fill up our afternoon. Unfortunately, the only thing that popped up was this:

A tour of the museum cost $16/person, so we decided just to browse through the gift shop. Don't worry, I didn't bring back any souvenirs.

We then took a walk through Madison Square Gardens where the trees were in full bloom:

We met up with Caleb and headed off to a Cuban restaurant for a fabulous meal.

The next morning, Caleb and I took some self-portraits in his FABULOUSLY decorated apartment. I think we may have a male Martha Stewart on our hands, folks!

Caleb was such a great host. He let us sleep in his bed -- and he wasn't even in it! On the nightstand beside the bed, was a beautiful vase of flowers and note sent from a FANTABULOUS friend wishing me luck in the marathon. I am so blessed to have such a great support system.

We rented a car and were off to Boston. Aaron and Caleb navigated, while I rested up.

On Sunday, we went to the EXPO to pick up my race number and join in the craziness of Boston. I bought a souvenir jacket (Thanks, Dad!), and wrote a special wish on The Runner's Wall:

Took a few more pre-race pictures with my guys:

Next, came the hard part. Finding bagels and a banana for my pre-race breakfast. The hotel offered NO free Continental Breakfast, so we started our search for a grocery store. We weren't having any luck, but then I spotted it . . . BUNCHES of bananas in an ice cream store window. Wow! It was fate. The boys stayed outside (they were thoroughly embarrassed) while I ran in and asked the owner if I could buy a banana. He graciously gave me a FREE BANANA!! What luck! He also looked at me like I was a little bit nuts. Well . . . yeah!

The next morning, my good friend and ex-bishop from Taft, California, picked me up at 6 a.m. for the race. We parked in downtown Boston and caught the bus to the starting line. Don't we look excited?!

We then waited under a large tent for HOURS, took some more pre-race shots, used the porta-potty a few times, ate some pre-race fuel, and lined up in the corrals.

I felt like I was being walked to my death. It was crazy! Sterling and I had pace bands we wore on our wrists to help us finish in 3:45. We kept a steady pace: 8:20-8:30min./miles. We also shouted out the mile number everytime we passed a marker, drank lots of fluid, and gagged down a Chocolate Outrage GU every 6 miles.

The EXPERTS told us that the marathon doesn't really start until the halfway point, so when we hit 13.1 miles, we yelled, "Ready, set, go!" I know. It was corny, but very satisfying.

Around the half-way point, the Wellesley College girls (as promised) stood in front of the college and screamed their lungs out for us and held up lots of signs promising kisses:
"Kiss me, it's my b-day!"
"Kiss me, I need a green card!"
"Kiss me, I'm studying for finals!"
"Kiss me, I'm British."

There were spectators along the entire route screaming for us. It was very inspiring. A couple of truly monumental things happened for me during the Boston Marathon. They are listed in order of importance to me:

A) I never had to stop to use the restroom.
B) I never felt like I was running on pirate stumps.
C) I ran a PR: 3:35:31

Truly amazing experience! (In this clip, I was at Mile 20, begging Aaron and Caleb to come run and finish the race with me!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shocker! We Went to London, England!

Aaron, Cali, Ian, my taller brother, Caleb and I decided to dash off to London, England for a little vacation. (Really, Aaron had to work and we decided to try to sneak into his luggage!)

When we arrived in Heathrow Airport on Easter Sunday, we were greeted with some unexpected news. Amar, the owner of the apartment we had PREPAID for, met us in his mini van and said, "Welcome to England. Unfortunately, I have some HORRIBLE news. The 2 bedroom apartment you booked is occupied by some other tenants."


Did we just arrive in London after an 18 hour travel day and find out we were going to be homeless?! Luckily, Amar had an alternative. "I've got this one bedroom apartment that I'm fixing up right now that you can stay in! Hop in the van. I'll drive you past the 2 bedroom apartment you were supposed to stay in so you can see it, and then I'll take you to the new one bedroom fixer upper I'm going to put you in."


Our hands were tied.

We went to the apartment that had a list of things wrong with it:
1 Bed
Filthy blue carpet
an electric shower that either scorches you or freezes you
a toilet that splashes up and out onto the floor everytime it's flushed
a washer/dryer combo that takes over 3 hours for a teensy load
a bed with a plastic cover on it that makes you have hot flashes

Amar looked at our sad faces as we looked around at the place and said, "Remember. I'm going to give you 80% of your money back and I'm going to bring you a cot!"

Woo Hoo! Somehow the 80% refund made the dirty blue carpet look a little bit brighter. So, Surprise, surprise. We decided to stay.

Welcome to England!

Aaron and Ian crashed on the sweat-inducing bed for 3 hours while Caleb, Cali and I decided to explore. After walking around for an hour and a half, we discovered some comfort food at McDonalds and then headed back to the apartment to see if the 3 of us could squeeze onto the futon. For some reason, Cali decided to sit in a straight backed chair instead of joining Caleb and I on the futon for a nap!

After our nap, we headed to The Tube (the underground railway system we spent most of our vacation on). Caleb (who turned out to be brilliant as a tour guide) led us to Westminster Abbey for our first glimpse of History book English architecture. When Ian caught sight of the Abbey, he said, "This is the coolest thing I've seen in my whole life."

We found an Italian restaurant with yummy looking desserts in the window to try for dinner. When we sat down, the owner, in a thick Italian accent said, "What you like to drink." Some friends of ours had clued us in that if you want FREE WATER you have to specify that you would like TAP WATER.

We all looked at each other. None of us wanted to say, "We'd like tap water please. All around." Finally, after a moment of uncomfortable silence, Aaron said, "Tap water, please."

The owner shook his head. "No tap water. Still or sparkling." We all looked at each other. What did he say?

"Tap water!" Caleb repeated.

"No! Still or sparkling."

"Well, we don't want sparkling, so bring us the other thing!" Caleb answered. The man ended up bringing us bottles of water that we paid a pretty penny for. We learned our lesson! From then on, we always packed a bottle of water in our backpacks in case we needed a swig during dinner!

After dinner, I headed to the restroom. The toilet in our apartment did not have a good flusher, so I was looking forward to finding a toilet that would flush more than one square of toilet paper. As I got ready to stand up from my seated position on the Italian toilet, I leaned to the right just a bit, and what do you know . . . the toilet (that was to my chagrin NOT bolted down) came completely off the ground. I fell into the wall of the stall with a huge bang. I'm sure I scared the woman in the stall beside me half to death. I righted the toilet, tried to compose myself and ran back upstairs to the restaurant. Could the first day in England get any better?

On Monday morning, Caleb and I went on a jog to Richmond. The views were amazing. We saw sheep grazing, the River Thames, a canoe race, Englishman in boots, and trotted through a muddy bog. It was one of the best runs of my life.

Aaron went to work that day, so the rest of us headed off to Kensington where we met up with our neighbors, the Coopers, at the London Center. It was so fun to visit with them and see familiar faces in a very unfamiliar part of the world. The rest of the day consisted of:
*best Thai food ever at "Tut Tut"

*a stroll through Kensington Gardens

*best gelato we've ever tasted

*Ian fed a swan

*rode an outdoor carousel

*best Indian food ever

All in all -- a great day!

*tour of The Towers (got to see The Queen's Jewels)

*Went to Shakespeare's Globe
*Sat in St. Paul's Cathedral
*pictures at Abbey Road

*ate at Subway (reminded me of home)

*went out for a 15 mile run
*desecrated the grounds near Hampton Court Palace (Runner's Runs you know!)
*got lost and kept running all the way to Sunbury Lock; asked a worker where we could catch The Tube to get back home; he replied, "The Tube?!" We knew we were in trouble!

*tour of Westminster Abbey (hundreds of tombs to look at)

*rode the London Eye (hot and slow moving)

*ate a Wonder Waffle (way overpriced)
*went shopping at H&M
*ate at Subway again
*went to see Wicked at The Apollo Theater (Wow!!)

Went on a tour to see Windsor Castle, Baths, and Stonehendge. Had the most hilarious tour guide! Loved it!

Spent the entire morning traveling to a soccer game. Awesome! They have great fans! Most of them were drunk and sang lots of songs. Very entertaining.
Found a little shopping area in Notting Hill; most amazing shopping in the world!

Flew back to reality! I sure missed Nyah and Carson. Nyah had a blast in Houston, Texas, with her Grandma Joannie. She played with her Cousin Emily NONSTOP in her new treehouse. Carson spent an enjoyable week in California with Grandma and Grandpa Heber where he was visited by the tooth fairy who gave him $12 for his tooth! He's going to be pretty sad the next time he loses a tooth in Utah!