The Beauty and Serenity of Lake Tahoe

I have spent most of my Winters in the North Lake Tahoe area – shredding the various hills, carving paths untouched by man and getting into snow ball fights with friends and family. Ok, who’s kidding, in recent years I have been sitting by the fire in the ski lodge with a pint of Newcastle and a good book (or my laptop) close by while I wait for my beloved to finish his carving of the hill (thanks to a set of knees that hate me).

But anyway, I think we should start spending a bit more time during the Spring and Summer months too. The AdHocnium team stole away for a few days to work on our business plan for the new company (TBA), and I had forgot how spectacular North Lake Tahoe is time of year.

Jump!

The water is a bit chilly, but beautiful nonetheless, especially when staring at it with a lovely glass of Chardonnay in your hand.

Day on the lake with @chrisheuer and @chloealexmayer #instacollage #tahoe #laketahoe #westshore

We had a house in Squaw Valley, which was in the process of switching from a ski resort to a golf resort…

Taking an afternoon stroll to stretch the legs and catch our second wind after day of brainstorming and planning. #squaw #squawvalley #laketahoe

And maybe next year, I will be in better shape so we can actually hike, bike and swim instead of drink wine, read books and eat until our bellies were going to pop. Or, we can live a little and try to do it all…

All I care about is that we spend more time here when there is more green on the ground than white.

Oh, and about that company we are working on … we will have news on that soon. :)

Round One: IPL Skin Peel

Skin PeelI am not an [overly] vain person, but as the years tick on by, I realize I should be a little better at taking care of my skin. The wrinkles on my face continue to deepen and I have been noticing crazy pigment changes on my face, neck and chest, which is making me never want to go out in the sun again.

My dermatologist recommended I try something called ‘IPL’ [Intense pulsed light] therapy, which uses pulses of light to induce controlled wounds on your skin, prompting it to heal itself by peeling and then creating new cells. It is less ‘damaging’ to your skin than a chemical peel, and the healing time is about half. They usually recommend three IPL treatments, but I thought I would start with this one and see how it goes before committing to more.

The process was simple. After filling out the typical ‘I promise not to sue you if you mess up my face’ forms, they took me to the treatment room and rubbed numbing cream all over my face. The treatment lasted about an hour and while there was no discomfort, I did smell ‘burning skin’ several times which is not the most pleasant smell to encounter, especially when you know it is your own.

IPL: Intense Pulsed Light TreatmentOnce it was over, I looked like I had a terrible sunburn. All the really red spots are where I had pigment issues (when I was young, we lovingly called them freckles). I knew I had some areas of concern on my chest, but I was a bit surprised to see my forehead and the side of my neck bringing things up so quickly. I have really tried to keep out of the sun the last couple of years, but seems the damage done in my 20s-30s was rearing its ugly head.

I was really red for the first two days and then it all started to mellow out. I had expected to go through a massive peel [perfect timing for Christmas], but that never happened*. My skin got really dry in the damaged areas and sloughed off in small pieces, like it would with a light sunburn.

I am on day four and I can see the brown pigment starting to fade away, so feeling like I made the right decision and will most likely schedule treatments two and three now to really make sure I get it all. It is not inexpensive, but when I think of all the damage it is trying to undo, I think it is worth it.

* The first photo is a basic mask you do at home and did not have anything to do with the IPL, I just thought it was funny.

 

New trend: 20-30 year olds getting botox

As a 43 year old woman, I like to stay in the know on the trends to help keep the wrinkle fairy away. I already try to minimize my time in the sun. I drink lots of water. I remember to use a moisturizer a couple times a week.
Kiki-Wrinkle

While it was enough for the first 42 years of my life, signs of age are creeping its way onto my face…and I am far from pleased about it.

I need to do more.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons released a new report showing trends in plastic surgery. No surprise that breast augmentation is still number one, or that many surgical procedures are being replaced by noninvasive treatments.

The report shows the number of ‘noninvasive’ treatments in the last ten years were;

* Botox injections: 5.4 million, up 584 percent.
* Wrinkle fillers: 1.8 million, up 172 percent.
* Laser hair removal: 937,601, up 27 percent.

What *was* surprising however, was that 2.4 million procedures were performed on people in their 30s, an increase of 4 percent. Key words there –> IN THEIR 30′S.

I am used to people having this ‘botox’ discussion when in their 40′s and 50′s, but I never thought about stopping wrinkles before they really form. This is pure genius! Of course this realization comes as I am now in my 40′s and the wrinkles are pretty well set…but it does make the conversation of ‘to do or not to do’ a little more interesting as I consider the impact of slowing the process down so I can maybe avoid the ‘full face lift’ conversation in my 50′s or 60′s. My thoughts now turn to just how much I hate the crow’s feet and whether or not I am willing to inject poison into my system to minimize them.

But it is nice to know there are more noninvasive options to consider. I like noninvasive.

This weekend was exactly what I needed.

I needed some down time. I needed something to get Friday’s accident out of mind. I needed to be surrounded by loved ones, doing nothing of great importance, outside of making sure the beer was cold enough to satisfy our thirst.

I needed this weekend.

The weather was perfect. The crab was fresh. The beer was cold (I did my job right). It was a hum dinger and I am grateful I was able to take this time to be with my family.

I probably won’t get a chance to see mom and dad again until Christmas time, but already making plans as I love hanging at the beach house. Just wish it wasn’t a six (6) hour drive away.

365 days of me.

On May 13, 2008 I started a little project called ‘365 days of me‘ where you take a photo of yourself, everyday for one year, all in an effort to capture your mood, your actions, your life.

My vanity project came to an end yesterday.

It is kind of cool to scan back through your photos and see where you were, what you were feeling and who you spent time with. Looking back, the last 365 days has me: Losing a job. Gaining a job. Also gaining another 10 pounds. Traveling. Spending more time than I should with our cat Ele. Being sick. A lot.

And one of the days found me in the bathroom, finally removing my belly button ring. Seems silly I know, but I had kept it as a reminder of my youth and my desire to get back in shape so I could wear it proudly. Realizing I had just turned 40, and I had not been to the gym in over a month…it had to come out.

365me

I enjoyed the project, but will admit it started to get hard around month nine as you try to figure out creative ways to capture yourself without repeating shots. There are way too many shots of me staring into the webcam, but it was easy and, hopefully, each one was different enough to tell the story of that day.

I am glad I stuck with it for all 365 days and am now looking for my next project. Thinking something centered on food. Maybe one meal from everyday. Might just help me figure out where all these calories are coming from…

Wii Mii

Not sure what possessed me to torture myself like this, but I went out and bought myself a Wii Fit*.

I set the bugger up. I step onto the balance board. It lets out a little sigh. It proceeds to tell me I am a fat ass and turns my svelte avatar into the fatty that you see on this screen. Nice.

Kiki meets the Wii Fit

I am fat. 50 pounds overweight to be exact. My scale tells me that every day…for free!

I sit here contemplating why I just spent $100 on this contraption (included the sleeve that protects it from your stinky and sweaty feet), when I decide to go through the menu to see what else it can beat me down on before I package it up and ship it back to Amazon. For giggles, I decide to try out their yoga. 45 minutes later, I have blown through the yoga, did some strength training and played a couple of balance games.

I am hooked.

Best part of it, I woke up the next day feeling these things…I think some people call them ‘muscles’…in my sides that were a bit sore from the ‘workout’ the day before.

What do you know, Nintendo might be on to something. ‘Playing’ a video game has the potential to help me shed a few pounds off this fat ass and might just possibly turn me into a phat ass. ::fingers crossed::

*DISCLAIMER: The Wii Fit link above does go to my Amazon referral page. If you click on it and choose to order the system, I think I will make something like $1.

My dying wish?

Cremate me. Please.

This might seem like a premature request, seeing as I am a fairly healthy 41 year old woman who recently went head to head with a mammogram machine and won, but a recent visit to my grandmother’s grave site made me realize how important this little bit of info is to me.

I want to be cremated.

Burn baby burn.

Disco inferno.

It is a conversation I have had with my parents (they have expressed a wish to do the same thing). I have spoken to my husband about this. I now put this in writing to seal the deal.

It all circles around the guilt I feel for not visiting the grave sites of the loved ones gone before me. It is not the lack of caring for these loved ones, merely I do not want to remember them as they are now – locked in a casket, 6 feet underground with nothing but a tombstone to mark their place in this world.

WoolfCamp: 2009

I would rather remember them as they were. When they were alive.

Case and point, my grandma. She passed in August of 1994 after her heart decided, two surgeries later, it just did not wish to pump anymore. She was a huge part of my life, and was the center of the universe in my dad’s family. While we knew she was not doing well, her passing was unexpected and was a huge blow to our family (so much so, her lack of presence is still felt to this day).

I am typing this now, feeling like an asshole as I admit this past weekend was only the third time I had visited her grave site in 15 years. Once immediately after her passing, once in 2006 and then this past weekend. And you know what brought me there in 2006 and 2009? Woolfcamp. It just so happens the venue is about 300 feet away from the cemetery where my grandpa, grandma and cousin are buried. Had I not attended this event, I would not have gone anywhere near this place.

Even more embarrassing, both times (in 2006 and this past weekend) I spent 30+ minutes trying to find her grave site. So stupid. I knew where it should be, but had a hell of a time finding it. This drama around the location combined with the guilt of not visiting more and then the weird sensation of ‘well, what do we do now that we found it’ really solidified the fact I do not wish to be put in the ground.

I love you grandma. You helped shape who I am today. You will always be in my heart. I just can’t visit *that spot* again. I know you understand.

To my loved ones who will have to deal with my passing – cremate me and throw me to the wind. I don’t even need a special spot to be let go – ok, I want to be set free over the ocean. Just make absolutely sure I am not put in some urn and placed on a mantle or I will come back and haunt whoever does that to me.

I mean it. And trust me, I won’t be like that silly Casper ghost either.

Tips for a better life

I was trolling Facebook the other day and came across a slide show from Nithya Shanti called Tips for a better life.

While most of this is purely common sense, I think sometimes we need to see it in black and white to remind ourselves how important each one of these items are.

1. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
3. Sleep for 7 hours.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Play more games.
6. Read more books than you did the previous year.
7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
9. Dream more while you are awake.
10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
11. Drink plenty of water.
12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
14. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
15. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
16. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
17. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
18. Smile and laugh more.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don’t compare your partner with others.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
25. Forgive everyone for everything.
26. What other people think of you is none of your business.
27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
28. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
29. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
31. The best is yet to come.
32. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
33. Do the right thing!
34. Call your family often.
35. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy.
36. Each day give something good to others.
37. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
38. Share this with someone you care about

I lost a little of my boob Friday.

Let’s just call Friday ‘doctor day’.

It started with a cold stethoscope and a few coughs to make sure my lungs were clear as I have been battling the flu bug for two weeks, and it took a turn for the worse a couple of days ago. I wanted to make sure it is not turning into something that will make me even pissier than I already am (I have a history of both strep and sinus infections). Doctor said it was a standard flu bug and sent me on my way with a bottle of codeine cough syrup and an inhaler and asked me to call them in two weeks if I am not finally better.

Oh yeah, before the doctor let me get out his front door – he sat me down and gave me a tetanus shot. Figured he might as well get me while I too weak to fight. Kidding. Kind of.

After a quick break for lunch, I headed to the labs for an ultrasound of my left boob. I had my first (ever) mammogram last month and the technician found some ‘oddities’, so they asked me to come in for another mammogram, which I did this past Tuesday. Not being able to get a clear picture then has me back at the labs today, this time for an ultrasound.

I tried to live tweet the ultrasound, you know, because I could.

Twitter Feeds from Doctors Visits

I am happy to report all seems to be good and it was ‘simply’ multiple benign cysts. Will go back in for another mammogram next year to make sure nothing else is brewing, but I am happy to have gone through the steps and hopefully resolved this for good.

UPDATE 2/23/09: Adds links from Flickr posts.

The flu bug sucks.

Two weeks in and I am still battling the Kathleen Turner voice (tired of hearing it sounds sexy), the sore throat, the never ending mounds of flem coming out of my sinuses and the feeling of not wanting to do a damn thing but sleep.

This must stop.

365me

I have been sucking down the codeine cough syrup in the hopes it pulls the flem out of my body. I am sleeping (sort of) with the inhaler next to my side, ready to pump twice if my lungs don’t play nicely. And I am applying Abreva every 3 hours as my body seems to think it hilarious to kick me when I am down and decided I need a cold sore on my mouth now too.

Gah. Damn it all to hell.