31 July 2008

Why I'm Not Losing Weight

I'm not losing weight for you (strangers) to accept me. I'm not losing weight so you (woman in that other department) can tell me my clothes are too big. I'm not losing weight so you (plumpy plump) can stop me to discuss what hasn't worked for you. I'm not losing weight so you (chunky chunk) can tell me how hungry you are. I'm not losing weight to be your inspiration, motivation, or to provide determination.

I'm losing weight for me (Danie) because I want the body of an action movie hero. I have a hope to one day be off of medication regulating my blood pressure. I want to be healthy. I don't want to get winded easily. I don't want my weight to be an issue if I want to get on a ride. I don't want to weigh more than my boyfriend.

I do not pretend to be an expert on weight loss. It's taken me nearly two years to come as far as I have and it hasn't been consistent along the way. Yes I've learned a lot about food and nutrition, and yes I plan to write a book about it all someday. But there's no reason to stop me and let me know you've been staring at me. I understand people notice. And - to an extent - it's good to know my hard work is evident. But there's a difference between a friend saying "you look good," and a coworker saying "I'm glad you're finally wearing clothes that fit you." It's just awkward to think people are keeping tabs on me.

And while I'm thinking about it, I'm not studying Muay Thai so you (insecure man) can avoid eye contact and watch my breasts bounce. That's the best way to get my best roundhouse right to your ribs.

20 July 2008

It's Official. I'm Legit

July 10, 2008

My parents taught me to strive for excellence. I wouldn't say I was raised to be competitive - I never had a direct opponent. But if I brought home a 96, my dad would ask why I didn't get a 100. He was never angry, just curious. I would explain that a 96 was still an A, and he wouldn't be satisfied, but what else could he do?

In school the highest symbol I knew was the certificate. To me, it was a testament to greatness that forever proved (my) dominance. Over the years, I got a lot of certificates. One by one, they were split between my parents and the end result was that I had only vague memories of my achievements. But that's all changed, thanks to Muay Thai. I took the belt test in April and got m certificate earlier this month. It's from the Muay Thai International Association. It basically says I'm a yellow belt, which we knew. It lists my teachers, who I know. And it inspires me to go further, which we never doubted.

18 July 2008

Grand Canyon: The Rim

July 5, 2008

We felt as if our luck had changed. But I also thought it was more than luck, and I told Jesse just as much. Everything we had done that day led us to be right on time for the open site. Every turn we made, every refueling stop, every minute we spent at the points of interest - every single thing we did that day led us to the right place at the right moment. If we had skipped touring the sites, we would have been too early. Everything was as it should have been and I was quite happy.

We walked to (and along) the rim of the Grand Canyon. I tried to think of something better than "Grand Canyon," but I was at a loss. It's a rip in the planet. If I didn't know how it formed, I'd guess the Earth had been pulled tight, gouged, and left with a permanent wound.

As you've seen, there's nothing to keep people visitors safe from themselves. Jesse and I found a spot to sit and as we were walking towards it, I was almost overwhelmed by my own mortality. If I had slipped on loose rock, there would be no way to save me. My only hope would be grabbing a root or cactus. It's daunting and Jesse preferred we not talk about it.

Instead, we perfected our next camping trip. We listed the things we wished we'd brought. We both really like camping and know we could do better. From planning to packaging, I think we found a way to improve everything. Even sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon, I like to be productive.

Dinner was a bit of a fiasco. We began preparing too much too late. Yes we had the grill. But cooking over the open flame seemed like a better idea. We had hot dogs and brats - and decided to boil water for macaroni and cheese. And we hadn't washed dishes, so we have few options on that front. Also the table was no where near the fire. And it was dark. We did though have a great time laughing at ourselves. We ate, cleaned, and got ready for bed just as the fire died. We were cool, full, and refreshed. Sometime overnight we woke up to rain and a cool breeze. Perfection? Yes.

The next day we took the scenic route home, partially along Route 66. We didn't make any stops worth noting. But the pictures are nice. Those are off to your right. All in all, I fully endorse camping.

16 July 2008

Camping: A New Level In General

July 5, 2008
Every camper / pioneer needs to be outfitted. From what I've read and learned from television, the best place for that is the General Store. It's where Jesse and I went once we finished setting up camp at the Grand Canyon. We went for ice and firewood. We spent $40.

It couldn't be helped though. We were high on the success of finding our (my) ideal camping location. Jesse was (in my opinion) finally fully enjoying our trip. It wasn't too terribly hot and promised to be cool at night. And the General Store turned out to be more than a store. It was actually a grocery - apparel - restaurant that sold hiking equipment. The antiquated look outside was misleading. I didn't expect much and therefore didn't take pictures. The above is a file picture from the Internet. But I should have known, since there was a Chase Bank next door.

Our first stop inside was at the beer cooler, where I learned the General Store was actually not gouging customers. The prices weren't too much more than what we pay in Las Vegas. And considering gas prices and location, the prices might have been reasonable.

So there we were. Imagine, if you will, two dirty, sweaty, and likely stinky people in a very clean and busy shopping center. I highly doubt the choice if cubed or deli-sliced cheese is typical of a camping trip. We felt like cheaters. But that's not to say we didn't take advantage. We bought fruit (pineapple & bananas) as well as ice, firewood, a spatula with an Oscar Meyer hot dog as the handle, and chips - as we still had a lot of salsa left. I also bought hot dogs which I had / have forbidden myself to eat. They're loaded with sodium and are an antidote to blood pressure medication. I talked myself into because we were celebrating. It didn't hurt that we had seen a sign encouraging hikers to take in additional salt to make up for sweating. The idea of hot dogs cooked on an open flame (even followed by a headache) was just too powerful.

14 July 2008

Camping: The Grand Canyon II

July 5, 2008
The scenic drive takes people from one entrance to the other. There are loops along the way at various points, as well as turnoffs for camping. Desert View was the first stop from the way we entered and from there, we stopped at Lipan Point. It's the widest point at the Grand Canyon and Fodor's says you can see every eroded layer there. It was my favorite part of the drive, as it was the first place I could really see the Colorado snaking its way deeper into the earth.

We didn't spend a lot of time at Lipan Point. We were starting to get hungry and hopeful. There are campgrounds inside the Grand Canyon National Forest. We didn't expect to find a place to camp for the night, but it was a possibility and that's all we needed for a little excitement. We skipped Moran Point, for no other reason than the fact that the next stop was the Buggeln Picnic area.

We quickly set up shop with the grill, burgers, brats, beans, and corn. We're not allowed to grill at home because of fire dangers and apartment regulations. So grilled food was an extra treat. We weren't as organized as I would have liked. Our food, pots, utensils, and condiments were scattered between a cooler and several bags. We didn't have proper grilling or eating gear for camping. There's a lot of room for improvement in that department, and I took a lot of notes. Still, even with the drawbacks, everything was delicious and we were still able to thumb our noses at the cold sandwich saps. We savored but didn't dawdle. We still had the flickering hope we'd be able to camp there and wanted to get to the campgrounds. We didn't want to miss the sites though, for a slim chance. So we decided to stop at a few more points along the way to the campground. We had no excuse for missed opportunities.

Grandview Point was next. I think (like the Grand Canyon) the name is weak. It appears to just be something that stuck. Pete Berry built a hotel at this site in 1898. He called it "Grandview" and brought tourists in my stagecoach. It was the most popular tourist destination along the canyon until 1901, when the Santa Fe railroad reached Grand Canyon Village. I took pictures of the view, and of Jesse as he walked too close to the edge in his not too trusty flip flops. And then we set out for the moment of truth.

The turnoff to the campground led us through a lot of slow moving traffic. We knew we had arrived when the sign directing us too the grounds had another sign attached, declaring "full." It was kind of what we expected (as it was the 4th of July) but it was still disappointing. We decided to drive through the campgrounds anyway to see how they were set up. We noticed a lot of empty spots. The set up seemed efficient - parking spots out front, boulders protecting the campground, fire pits, and picnic tables. We also noticed a lot of empty spots, and decided to check in with the front office. There were two signs on the window. One (again) explained the camp was full. The other explained the reservations system, and therefore why the empty spaces were not available. We started to walk away when the man in the office called out to us: "Can I help you?"

It should be noted we were not close to his window. We do know how to read and see no point in asking questions when the answers are literally staring us in the face. Still, since he had asked:
"You guys are full huh?" - Jesse
"No we are not." - Man
"But the signs..." - Jesse
"I have one site. It just opened. A girl left early. I told her it wouldn't take me ten minutes to fill it and it hasn't been ten minutes. You want it?"
And that's how we got to camp at the Grand Canyon without reservations over 4th of July weekend. Life was great and our site was even better.

It didn't have a lot of parking space, but I don't have a lot of vehicle. The site itself was more than big enough. And (as a testament to the man behind the window) the log in the fire pit was still smoking. There were a lot of trees and therefore a lot of shade. It was everything I envisioned when I envisioned "camping." We were giddy with success. We set up camp quickly and set out to get outfitted.

12 July 2008

Camping: The Grand Canyon

July 5, 2008

We decided the best way to salvage our trip was to take the longest and mos adventurous way home. We opted to go south of Lees Ferry to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We figured we would take a scenic drive through the park, then take small roads through other scenic areas all the way home. We expected to waste time and money and we were okay with that.

It was southbound 89 when relaxation finally hit. We were driving in a sparsely populated area. There were mountains to the left and there was desert to the right. The music was on and finally our idea of "summer" had arrived. We were happy and singing and optimistic about what the day would bring.

For a while, the scenery stayed the same. Then all of a sudden it quickly changed to from mountains and desert to sand... and then to trees. I love trees - maybe even more so now that I live in the desert. I love the way they smell and the way they're strong, yet flexible. In my eyes, trees represent the presence of life. They're women: fertile, nurturing and beautiful. I see mountains as their opposite: masculine, unyielding, and powerful in a way that is almost majestic. In a matter of miles we went from what I saw as a barren stroghold to the Kaibab National Forest. At the time, it seemed really small to us. We were in it for maybe 15 minutes before we were out of it... and on Grand Canyon territory.

It costs $25 to get in to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. But admission is good for seven days from the date of purchase. There are several points set as designated stops, complete with nearly overwhelming views, historical information, and restrooms. The first stop even has a gas station - where regular gas was $4.68 a gallon. We stopped had plenty of gas bus stopped there anyway, because that's what the guy at the entrance told us to do.

I learned both more than anticipated and less than expected at the Desert View Watchtower. First of all, there is little historical significance to the structure. It is tall though, and as soon as we saw it, Jesse wanted to go to the top. I took some pictures from the rim, then up we went. Each floor had pictures on the walls but we didn't stop to look at any of them. We got to the top and it was the same view as outside - only obstructed by glass. To my further annoyance, Jesse had no interest in the view. He said he'd be sitting while I took pictures. I tolfd him I had no interest in taking pictures through glass, and down we went.

I did make it a point then to take pictures of the walls because (knowing nothting about this tower) I assumed they had some historical importance. I was wrong. I got my history lesson on the way out. The tower was built in the early 20th century as a gift shop. Time wasted? Not really, just less than expected.

It turns out the Grand Canyon is a hit with the international crowd, specifically Germans. And honesltly, I was surprised. I mean yes, I've been to tourust attractions in other countries. And yes, I live in an international attraction. But my idea of Grand Canyon visitors has always been made up of American families driving from coast to coast. I never thought people from all over the world would come to see it. It's not that I don't think the canyon deserves the fanfare - I just never saw it as having international appeal. And apparently neither did the Department of the Interior. All of the signs are in English and only English. I have appreciated my native tongue used for information in other countries. So I think it's a courtesy the United States should extend. Interesting. And a lot more than I expected.

Camping: The Adventure Heats Up II

July 4, 2008

Three hours later we were back at the campsite, roasting, arguing, and not having a good time. It was still hot, but we were still tired. We tried another nap in the tent, even though we knew it couldn't possibly be refreshing. Yes, it was more relaxing because I wasn't worried about bugs. But it was worse because our inflatable mattress captured and reflected body heat. I would wake up dripping onto the mattress, only to turn over so the other side could have a go. We tossed, turned, and avoided contact for two more hours until the sun went down. We decided to (1) get ice cream and (2) drive into Page, Arizona for what we hoped was a fireworks show. We weren't sure there would be a show at all, but what else was there to do?

The temperature got cooler as we drove away from Lees Ferry -- or "Satan's Throat" as Jesse called it. We got to Page just in time for the start of a fireworks extravaganza. We watched from a parking lot for a few minutes, then drove around to see what we could of the town. We ended up at a place that called itself a drive-in, but which was (at least in 2008) a drive-through. As we ate, mapped out our plan of attack for the Colorado River. Jesse figured (and I agreed) we should dig a trench, let it fill with water, and let that water warm up. We also decided to get beach umbrellas so we would have some shade from the sun. Clever? We thought so. So we went to the Wal Mart on the edge of town. It was probably the most perplexing experience of the whole trip.

The restaurant started filling up as we got ready to put our plan into action. We saw lines forming at the Sonic and other restaurants as well. And I guess it made sense to grab something to eat after an hour-long fireworks show. There were even long lines at the gas stations. I understood that too, I guess. But I was blown away by the people pouring into Wal Mart at 11PM on a Friday night. The parking lot was packed and inside there were groups of people in line buying single items. There were people buying kids' clothes, eggs, and other every day items that would have been ordinary at almost any other time on any other day. And maybe it's because I was expecting the store would be empty. Either way, it was a strange sight. That trip to Wal Mart was my first experience in a predominantly Native American area. I have to say it was disappointing.

I don't like people staring. It's rude. It happened in Fargo (as much as Jesse wants to believe the nice people in the Midwest would never) and it happens in some places when I'm out with Jesse. Typically white people stare and black people make comments. I had never known another minority group to stare. Granted - given the size and location of Page - few people there may have ever actually seen a black person in person. Still, it's not polite to stare. Suffice to say it was not the cultural observation I had one day hoped to have. But I did notice the cutest planter. It's a giant teacup on a saucer.

We bought our umbrellas and left Page optimistic for the next day. The more we talked about our plan, the more we were sure it would work. Our spirits were high and we thought it was cooler outside. It was actually only because Page sits at a higher elevation. It was still miserably hot after midnight at the campsite. By the time we parked and got ready for bed, some of the winds had fallen out of our sails. We didn't even really want to get into the tent but it was nighttime and without electricity, or a proper lantern, there wasn't a whole lot for us to do.

We slept horribly. Jesse and I agree it got hotter in the wee hours when it should have been getting colder. It eventually got cooler, when it was time to get up. The first thing we noticed Saturday morning: our plan was foiled. Day two at Lees Ferry dawned overcast. We were both surly. Jesse suggested we go home and I agreed. As far as I was concerned, our trip was a failure.

08 July 2008

Camping: The Adventure Heats Up

The third time appeared to be the charm. We found a choice site at Lees Ferry, complete with covered tables and overlooking the Colorado. It was beautiful. And it was time to get to work. There were two top priorities: food and shelter. We agreed Jesse would be in charge of the former, and I would take on the latter. I know we don't fit traditional gender roles, but he's pickier about food and I prefer building and putting things together. It might be different, but it works for us.

I assembled the tent nearly all on my own, except for the part that called for two adults. It was my very first tent assembly on my first ever camping trip. And it was successful. I was quite proud of our temporary homestead. Unfortunately I was so hungry, I didn't stop to take a picture. But trust me when I say that tent was a work of -- well of someone who follows very directions very well.

We ate. We changed. We were sweaty. We went for a splash in the Colorado and were literally stopped cold. The river was extremely cold. Even more than that, it was numbing. As soon as I stepped in, my shins started stinging with numbing cold. I compare it to sticking your hand into a cooler full of melting ice and water and keeping it in there while you feel around for the last of that delicious beverage of your choosing. It was not refreshing. I was freezing on the bottom, yet my top was still sweating. Jesse and I went back and forth, in and out of the river, waiting for that moment when we were acclimated. We submerged more and different parts of our bodies but every time the needles came back. The river took my breath away. And we gave up.

We walked up river for a bit. Jesse walked on the rocks while I split my time in and out of the water. I was testing out my Teva Water Socks. They kept my feet warm, gave me added grip, and were cute to boot. Jesse was jealous and said other women we passed were as well. I think he was projecting.

Eventually we realized we would not be cooling off in the Colorado. It was another sprinkle on the disappointment sundae. We also needed to sleep (as Jesse had been up for 24 hours and I had only napped in the car) and it was too hot for snoozing. We checked later and it was 102 degrees outside. The fan we brought just blew more hot air. Cool water evaporated, leaving only sweat. Finding a cool spot to sleep became imperative to us not killing each other. Unfortunately there were very few options. Jesse found one spot across a creek, but I could not follow. When I tried, I slipped -- even in my water socks. That happened twice. Not only am I sure I killed a tadpole, (and I am really sorry about that) but I was carrying my camera and pinkberry. I opted for the no water damage option. The next spot required a ten minute walk over hot sand. I swear my blood began boiling in my toes. I was glad to meet up with the frigid river at the end of that. I jumped in and filled my steaming socks. We did find a spot though - a shaded area along the river where we slept and tried to erase the day.

07 July 2008

Camping: The Beginning of Adventure

Sometime in May, I was given the 4th of July off from work. Right away Jesse and I decided we just "had to" get out of town. We wanted to drive and relax. And camping seemed to be the best option. For five weeks we fantasized and for one week we planned. It probably should have been the other way around.

Late Thursday (3 July 2008) we left for Lone Rock Beach. It was a last minute change after we realized we could camp right on the beach. Hindsight tells me that should have been a bright red flag. It wasn't and we went.

We drove through Zion National Park on the way, which was an added treat. We've wanted to go to Zion for at least a year, but haven't. To say it's a popular destination would be an understatement. We decided 4th of July was not the time to test it out. Although we were excited to drive through it. Too bad we got there before dawn. We saw some of the grandeur as we were leaving. You'll have to take my word for it though - the pictures were taken without natural light.

Lone Rock Beach was beautiful. We arrived just after seven, but a lot of people were already waking up and heading to the water. We drove along looking for a spot - until the moment came. It was the moment we should have expected but didn't. The moment we realized a loaded Hyundai is not a beach vehicle. We were stuck.

Jesse got out and started digging. We didn't have a proper shovel, so there he was out in the sun, under a hot car, digging hot sand with his bare hands. I didn't dare take a picture for fear his head would explode. But I was tempted. A passerby stopped to help Jesse dig. Two teens with a shovel appeared a little while after that. Yard by yard, we moved Henry the Hyundai back to terra firma. We were just two feet away when two men in a pick up (with a chain) came to our rescue.

Lesson: Always carry a proper shovel and tow rope on adventurous trips.

Jesse was a sweaty, dirty, virile mess. We drove on higher ground and lower ground, but nothing was close enough to the beach for us to set up camp. We also saw another car stuck in the sand. That was our cue to leave. We decided to head to Wahweap Marina. It was close, and also closed to us. Technically it was full until 11. But we didn't foresee a lot of people heading out first thing on the fourth. Our third hope was south at Lees Ferry. We crossed the Grand Canyon on the Navajo Bridge. There was a parallel foot bridge. We got out for our first brush with majesty.

It's certainly more than grand. Perhaps immense would be better. I looked at the bottom as I walked and felt the world turn a little - as if I were at the center of something magnificent. Jesse called the feeling vertigo. I'm sure we mean the same thing.

The Navajo Bridge was also my first (and only) negative restroom experience on this trip. There is apparently no running water in that spot along the Colorado River. Signs explained human waste was recycled into fertilizer. I could not see where my "contribution" went. Everything was dark and another sign asked me to close the lid after use. It wasn't the most hygienic place. But there was plenty of hand sanitizer, and I took full advantage. As you'll learn, I'm even tidy when I'm roughing it.

05 July 2008

Lessons In Camping: iii

You have to know when to think about quitting. Let's assume you want to camp. More than that, let's say you're out on a camping adventure. If your car gets stick at the first site, the second site is full, and the third is too hot for hiking with water that's too cold for swimming, it might be time to head home.

04 July 2008

Lessons In Camping: ii

There comes a point when it's too hot to even sit around and eat. If you're fortunate enough to be camping next to - let's just say - the Colorado River you might find relief from the heat. Unfortunately, if you're along the Colorado in Lees Ferry, Arizona, the water is well below freezing. After envisioning yourself taking a dip, you might walk in and run out because your shins have gone numb. You haven't lived until you've been sweating on top while trying to regain feeling on the bottom.

Lessons In Camping: i

It's just about 8am pacific time and we've learned quite a lot so far.

* Going through Mount Zion just before dawn is nice, but right at dawn would be better, since you can't take landscape pictures when there's little to no natural light.

*Southern Utah is really pretty, even if you sleep through it.

*Small cars loaded with two plump adults, camping equipment, food, and more that ten gallons of water are not meant to drive along pretty beaches. The vehicles are too heavy and the sand is too soft. This is an important bit of knowledge we learned the hard way... And with the help of a couple, two teenaged boys, and two men with a pick up and a chain.

*It's important to bring a shovel and towing rope when you camp. Or else you should bring a couple, two teenaged boys, and two men with a pick up and a chain.

*Sometimes you'll find your first camping choice isn't going to work out - perhaps because of sand. In these instances it is important to have a second choice. It also helps to know how to get from option "a" to option "b."

On The Road

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to camp. I've never been before
and I am excited. Right now it's 1:30 in the morning on the fourth of
July. I've been up since before 6AM on the third. Jesse is driving and
I'm about to be napping. Wish us luck.

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

02 July 2008

Likes & Dislikes

If you're old enough to read, (and even before then) you're old enough to know what you do and do not like. I knew I liked grapes and disliked apples before I knew what either was. I've discovered other likes and dislikes in the last 26 years and I think I've done a pretty good job of remembering them. So when I told Jesse I do not like sushi, I assumed he'd take me as an expert on the matter of my taste buds. I was wrong.

Jesse started eating sushi sometime after Thailand. There were several catalysts for this change in fooditude, including endorsements from travel-buddy (and malaria victim) Jay and poker playing icon Doyle Brunson. Jesse was really excited to share his new discovery with me, and chalked my professed dislike to the quality of sushi I tried. He was convinced sushi from a place he found would change my opinion. He was so excited. I just could not deny him an honest attempt at eating (and enjoying) sushi.

It should be noted, however, that I did eat reputable sushi. I went to Osaka (the restaurant) in Henderson (the city) about two years ago. Osaka was the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas. It's been run by the same family since 1967, and the most widely circulated magazine in Japan rated it one of the 50 best restaurants. It's legit (but does not have a website). I went with sushi lovers David & Annie and tried so called "beginner" rolls. No dice.

Jesse took me to Naked Fish. I don't know its history, but it was very nice inside and seemed almost as traditional as Osaka. Osaka did not have non Japanese options - and certainly nothing as Western as "For Sizzle My Nizzle," which you might know as a jalapeƱo popper. I felt more comfortable knowing there were other choices. It probably made it easier for me to agree to go, but it shouldn't have.

I left all the ordering up to Jesse. He ordered the Japanese Lasagna (the top seller), For Sizzle My Nizzle (the familiar food), and a Roppongi Roll (the roll that made Jesse like sushi). I ate the poppers first, and it was downhill from there. The Japanese Lasagna was okay, almost like eating a creamy rice covered mush. There was supposed to be crab inside but I didn't taste it. I knew I didn't want to eat the Roppongi Roll. It was really thick and had an extra bit of tuna on top. It was quite a lot. I told Jesse I didn't want to eat it and he convinced me to try it. I took a happy picture first and went to town.

It looked like a lot - and was even more to chew. I watched Jesse the whole time and willed myself not to throw up. I reminded myself how excited Jesse was to share his joy. I told myself this meant a lot to him. I even focused on the fact that he suffered through Sweeney Todd -- which I thoroughly enjoyed. That all happened while I was still chewing. It was awful, but I got it down. And Jesse finally understood. I do not like sushi.

01 July 2008

Why I'll Never Doubt There's A Higher Power

I believe everything happens for a reason. This is no doubt fostered by my mother's belief in "The Spirit." When I was younger, my mom would tell me things she knew because of what the "The Spirit" told her. Usually it meant my brother was up to no good and eventually I translated it to mean my mom simply followed her gut. But more evidence is showing me she was right, today is one of those examples.

Jesse and I are going camping for the 4th of July. I'm really excited. We took a lot of road trips when we lived in Fargo -- going anywhere from the rope swing in Elizabeth to concerts in Chicago. We drove 26 hours to get to Las Vegas, and we've been off the open road pretty much ever since, going only as far as Cedar City earlier this year. I miss it, gas prices aside. I also miss water, trees, and moisture in the air. These are all things I plan to rectify with camping. Today that trip was endangered -- then aided -- by a higher power.

Before I travel, I like to make sure everything is on the up and up. That means a clean apartment and inspected car. Today I called Hyundai for my 15,000 service and was told there were no openings until Saturday. Too bad for them I'll be in Southern Utah on Saturday. I was resigned to start our trip with faith in Hyundai.

Jesse picked me up from work and we headed home. Two blocks from home we stopped to eat. The gas station on the corner happens to be attached to a Mexican restaurant. If you don't have one of those in your neighborhood, you should get one. We ate and when we were done, my car would not start. The key turned, the air turned on, the lights came on, and the radio played. But the engine would not start. Jesse tried some things while I called roadside assistance. It was exactly 6:00 and I had exactly 16,000 miles on my car. I was promised a tow truck within the hour. Jesse and I were in the best place we could be at a less than favorable time.

We were two blocks from home, and even though it was 110 degrees outside, I didn't think the walk home was bad at all. We hydrated, got a deck of cards and walked back to await the tow truck. Jesse tried the car two more times, and it started. I canceled the truck and drove right to the dealership. Since I had an emergency, I felt no issue in squeezing my way into the mix. The maintenance guy agreed to check my battery... and reminded me I was due for my 15,000 mile service. I pounced on the opportunity. The service included an oil change, filter changes, fluid checks, plug checks, a belt check, tire checks, and brake checks. Basically everything a girl about to embark on a road trip would need.

In summation, within four hours, I went from approaching a road trip with a blind view of my car, to not having the car at all, to a fully checked (and washed) vehicle. If my car hadn't-not started, I wouldn't have gotten in to get the service. We would have taken it into the wilderness without a clean bill of health for who knows what. Instead, I have full faith in my vehicle, and am that much more excited.

And Just Awesome:
Between getting the car running and stopping at Hyundai, we pulled into a Starbucks. I ordered an iced coffee and Jesse ordered a water. When we got to the window, there was a sign reading: "How many calories are in a plain cup of coffee? Answer = a free drink." Jesse handed the barista the money as I asked: "Are there 5 calories in a plain cup of coffee?" She said: "There are. You can take your money back." Sometimes I amaze myself. Other times I just like to amaze you.