Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I know I don't normally do personal posts about my days anymore, but I haven't been able to stop talking or thinking about snowboarding all day, so I'm just going to get it all out here.
I went with José, Chad, Brendel, Rachel, Rachel's friend Andrew and Andrew's girlfriend (I didn't catch her name). We woke up in the wee hours and left for Snow Valley at around 6AM, had a fun mountain drive (curvy roads!) and got there just as it opened at 8:30! After we suited up we got our tickets. We bought ours online at 50% off and then collected them at the ticket window. Awesome! It was a full day, too!
All right, so we went on slope 6 first, which was the bunny slope. José helped me regain my footing, and I was actually practicing going down vertical! I got more comfortable that way, but keeping balanced was still hard. After about an hour and a half of runs, we went back to the cars and had snacks.
Bringing bread and peanut butter was an excellent idea, they made great snacks XD We just sat around, drank beer (them) and Sprite+Malibu (me), relaxed a little, shed some clothes (it got HOT up there), then hit the slopes again.
I swear, I was trying really hard to like snowboarding, but it was becoming increasingly hard to. José left to ride the higher slopes and I kept practicing on the bunny slope. I really wanted to like it, but it was pissing me off! :( José came by again to teach me how to control the board with my toes and do a J-stop, and I was getting the hang of it but my body was too tired, so we met up with the rest for more snacks.
When we got back, I was ready to be defeated again. The rest were getting pumped to all go on slope 1, an intermediate slope that was way, way up the mountain. I told them I'd stick to the bunny slopes and slope 13, another beginner slope. I was in line by myself when José came back over and said, "Hey, you're coming with us on slope 1." I refused and refused but in the end, I came with.
Halfway up the lift ride I started to cry—it was so high up, and the ride didn't seem to end, and we were dangling, and the seat was so narrow, and the slope looked so steep and I didn't think I could go down it without breaking something. José held me and comforted me the best he could and said he'd stay with me the entire time. When we got up, I got off the lift fine and strapped up. I was still crying, but everybody there was glad to see me. I'm happy they were really supportive. I went down the slope...
It was fantastic. It felt much, much better than the bunny slope. I was breaking just fine, I was doing the falling leaf for a while and sometimes I was even comfortable enough to go vertical. There was a run called Bubblegum Run that wrapped around a little hill and it had a few trees and rocks. I went through it quite fine :D Rachel, José and I stuck together and sometimes met up with Chad and Brendel whenever we took breaks, so that was cool. They kept encouraging me, which really helped, I was happy :) That run really allowed me to enjoy it more, so I went back up again and tried applying some things I learned and observed when it came to snowboarding.
Whenever José tried to help me, I couldn't really get it right—I tried extremely hard to do simple things like steer and go forward without faceplanting but it was hard. He kept telling me to use my heels, use my heels, but it was hard, damnit! My calves were aching and no matter how hard I dug in I either kept drifting the other way or falling over. Then José told me that Chad said to kind of lead with the elbow, so I did, and... it worked :D I suppose it's just one of those tricks that makes your body shift its weight in a way that makes the snowboard respond to you. When we were heading down slope 1, Rachel was complaining that her thighs were cramping up. I thought that was weird, because my calves were the ones cramping. She'd been snowboarding since middle school, so next I tried breaking and controlling my speed using my thighs. It made my knees bend the right way and my center of gravity situated correctly so that when I went down it felt much better and more like I was in control, instead of constantly wobbling! I was amazed at my own finds.
We snowboarded until 4 and then packed up. I let my butt dry in the sun coz I got snow in my undies XD We headed back to Garden Grove and ate at a restaurant called The Boiling Crab, which was pretty good. I'm not a fan of crab, but the restaurant was quite an experience!
Anyway, I'd love to go snowboarding at least one more time this season, to really cement the fun I've been having. I hope I don't end up forgetting everything by next season XD
Sunday, March 14, 2010
For those who are unfamiliar, a bento box is just Japanese meal-in-a-box. The most familiar kinds are the ones people bring to school or work, but there are some made for art and some made for home.
I've been looking into bento boxes as a solution to my healthy eating dilemma, especially at school.
Back in January/February I told myself that I would eat healthier: less meat, more fruits and veggies, smarter choices regarding everything else, making everything I eat really count. I went vegetarian for a week and continued snacking healthily for a while, but when I got hit by 3 huge art projects, it didn't matter anymore: all that mattered was spending as much time on the projects as possible, and maybe eat when I remembered. And boy, was it easy to forget.
It's hardest on Mondays and Wednesdays. I basically run a 12-hour school day, and if I rushed out in the morning and forgot to grab snacks, then I'm stuck starving myself so I could save money by buying only one thing, usually a Subway sandwich, before my night class. I end up exhausted, irritated, and so very hungry. When I'm feeling especially cheap, that Subway sandwich often turns into chips and $1 chicken sandwiches from Carl's Jr. I feel disgusted that this happens a LOT these days.
I started to think about how I can make this better for myself, when I was struck by a distant memory of my mom packing me lunches in little bento boxes for me back when we used to live in Okinawa. Granted, we lived on a U.S. air base and I wasn't carrying bentos every day, but she liked implementing bits from the native culture into our daily lives. It hit me: bento boxes! Of course!
Now, of course I have little tupperware boxes to put stuff in, which easily works as a bento box. So why focus on the specificities of bento boxes? Well, it's not about the box, but the artistry behind it. Like everything else the Japanese do, there is an art behind bento box making, involving portion-controlling and meal planning. The Japanese are well known for their healthy eating lifestyles and this goes for their bento box lunches as well.
I came across a website called Just Bento that has been extremely helpful in my bento-making endeavours. The best part about it is that it contains recipes for bento boxes–which is important, since bento box lunches are often meant to be eaten at room temperature (perfect for the college kid with no access to a refrigerator!).
Although I know full well that I could just say, "put a balanced meal in a Tupperware box," focusing specifically on bento boxes helps me out more by giving me something specific to plunge into. Bento box making is an art finely crafted by the Japanese, and if I start from there, then I figure I should be good to go. I'll need to devote more time and effort than normal, but hey, I'm willing to do that if it means avoiding having to constantly eat those $1 chicken sandwiches.