Monday, November 18, 2013

moving to wordpress

After years of spottily maintaining this blog, I am finally moving to a self-hosted blog on my own website. Please come visit me at my new blog home:

Friday, December 7, 2012

social media management

Are you on Facebook? How about LinkedIn? FourSquare? Instagram? Twitter? Flickr? Reddit? Google+? What about Flibertygibbits?! Just kidding, I made that one up. But you weren't sure for moment there.

If you are like me, you may have genuinely considered hiring someone to manage all this crap, then realized you could only afford to pay that person in carpet lint. Hiring someone to manage your social life makes about as much sense as hiring someone to throw glitter on you whenever you do something impressive. It would be cool, yes, but ultimately it could get very messy.

Some of you may be aware that I am currently training for Ironman in 2013. Keeping track of my internet social media presence wasn't exactly easy before I started I started going on 6 hour bike rides, but now it's gotten to the point where I dread picking up my phone after a workout. Those cute little notification flags are the bane of my existence. I'm not ignoring you, I swear, I'm just too busy breaking into an overwhelmed, cold, sweaty panic to actually respond to anyone.

When I do have spare seconds, I need to decide which global friend group would care to hear from me, as I often have only enough time to update one page. Luckily, I have stumbled upon (no pun intended) a workable solution to the status update conundrum. And luckily for you, I like to share (haha, obviously). The solution I found is called HootSuite. This social media manager allows you to add your networks like Twitter and Facebook, and also link secondary social sites via 'Apps' like Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and StumbleUpon. The HootSuite interface links together your networks to post status updates everywhere at once. For example, when I post this article on Blogger, my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts will all announce it for me.

The interface is shown below:

Now that I am more effective at sharing via social media channels, I might be curious about my overall influence on the internet. Currently, the popular way to measure this is by finding your Klout score (link goes to wikipedia). Theoretically, the Klout score looks at your social media sites and scrapes data from them about your reach and level of influence online. Klout scores are measured on a scale of 1-100 for everyone who has a social network (including businesses and organizations), so you already have one; but if you want any control over which sites are used to get the score, you need to create an account on In case you were wondering, my Klout score is 40.

Now that things are more easily managed, I can focus on generating healthy exercise sweat instead of slimy internet panic sweat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disappearing Act

You may have noticed that I've almost completely dropped off the face of the internet...or maybe you haven't noticed...or maybe you've enjoyed the silence. To answer the question you may not have been asking: I am still alive and well, just a bit busier than usual.

At the end of the Summer this year I began a training program for the Coeur d'Alene Ironman race in June of 2013. It's become something of a third and fourth job for me to swim, bike and run for hours each day.

I've started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the race fee and supplies. The page also has an explanation of why I would want to do this crazy thing in the first place:

Also, I made a YouTube channel to post videos on my progress throughout the year. Here is the first in the series, for your viewing pleasure:

You can view all of my Ironman update videos on YouTube at

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's hard to date when you are awesome

It's hard to date when you are awesome. I say this not to be a jerk, but to explain to everyone who has a minor heart attack when they hear I am single that it's not that I'm not trying, it's just that I'm so freakin' awesome. Somewhere out there is a guy who is also awesome, whose friends are equally miffed at his singleness, but he probably lives in Canada or Australia since those places are the leading exporters of outdoorsy crazy people.

The main reason it is hard to date when you are awesome is that people lie to you. I've brought this up with a few of my lady friends who are equally awesome and they were quick to agree.

Here's how it generally goes:

"What do you do for fun," he asks.

"Snowboarding is pretty cool," I say, randomly picking one of the many millions of things I do for fun.

"I love snowboarding," he practically shouts, "I go ALL THE TIME, it's like my favorite thing to do. We should go together!!!!!!"

So I agree and say, yeah, let's go this weekend.

To which he replies, "Um...well I don't have a board anymore."

And I'm confused.

And he says, "I sold it a few years ago."

And I'm confused.

And he says, "I went one time in college and I haven't gone since."

And I'm confused.


That's scenario number one, wherein dude claims to have the same hobbies as you. A variation of scenario one is when he gets so deep into the lie that he actually ends up doing this fake hobby with you and totally sucks at it. If you are a guy I implore you not to let it get that far, it is profoundly annoying to babysit someone you've just met, and it's downright dangerous to claim you rock climb and try to fake your way through belaying.

Scenario two is the one that really blows my mind. This is the one where the guy lies about his living situation, job, car, finances, generic lifestyle things. The reason this is so weird to me is that I don't care about those things, I'm much more concerned with hobbies and whether or not you can quote my favorite movies, max bonus points if you can make me laugh for real.

I ended up at The White House Grill with one such liar. We had been texting for about a week and during that time he had told me that he was a foreman at a construction company, owned a house, loved dogs, and also loved to read. I too have a totally rad job, house, dogs, and a love of literature; so I was looking forward to actually talking to him instead of texting or yelling over karaoke singers in the bar.

So we sit down and I say, "How's it going," or some variation of that, and he says it's good because he didn't end up working today. "Day off?" I ask.

And he says, no no, Labor Ready didn't need me today.

"Oh okay, you're a temp. I thought you said you were a foreman for a company?"

"No." he glares at me, "I never said that. Why would I say that?!" He's pissed.

Funny, because my phone does store texts, and that's what it says. "I don't know why you'd say that," I shrug.

He snorts, "Yeah well, it's good I had the day off because I had stuff to do around the house."

I perk up. Houses are one of my favorite topics, kinda like when you have kids and all you ever want to talk about is the random things they say and whether or not they have pooped today. "Oh yeah," I say, "I've been thinking about repainting my bathroom."

He glares at me again, clearly something is my fault but I'm not sure what. "I can't repaint because my Grandma likes wallpaper."

"Your Grandma lives with you?" I ask offhandedly, "a few people I know have taken in their elderly relatives, it's a lot of work, but it's nice that they don't have to live alone."

"It's her house!" he shouts, "she took me in, not the other way around."

"Oh," I'm a little taken aback, most of the time I'm so relaxed that I'm practically sleeping, and this guy's negative energy is seriously distressing, "you told me you owned the house."

"I would never say that. You make things up," he throws his fork down on the table like we're about to rumble. "Anyway, my mom and her boyfriend live in the trailer in the backyard, so right now I'm living in the basement. DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT?!!"

"" I stand up and grab my purse, "I really need to get a run in before it gets dark."

And I do, I run like hell all the way back to my car.


This brings us to scenario three: the therapy session. I usually end up on this date after meeting a guy in a bar who seems to be really chill and fun, he's amusing and smiling, he seems easygoing. I'm attracted to people who are confident, self assured, and have a positive outlook. It's pretty easy to trick me on this front because I'm the same even-keeled person every day, and it's easy for me to forget that some other people bounce up and down from absolute nirvana to the depths of despair within minutes.

So we arrive and we sit down for drinks, and he's...sad. As a person who is only sad when sad things are happening, I immediately worry and ask what's wrong. Then I brace myself because I'm sure he's going to say that someone died.

"Oh just everything," he sighs. "My life. My life just sucks."

"That's...too bad?" I have no coping response for this, I can't even begin to understand.

It goes on in this way for a while and I struggle to prop up the conversation for the both of us, even though he seems intent on letting it fall down and crush us. He wants me to keep asking him why he is sad so he can keep saying it's everything, somehow this is enjoyable for him.

At this point, the date is flat and colorless, I fall back on the default question: "So...what do you do for fun?" I ask this like it has six question marks at the end, I'm seriously reaching here.

He unleashes a torrent of words about working too much to do anything fun, his psycho ex girlfriend, why all liberals are stupid, how much he hates living here; topping it all off with an angry statement about how awful it is to be dating. His statement doesn't require a response, which is good because I'm making lists in my head of all the fun things I'm going to do when I get home.

I imagine some time passed but honestly I wasn't paying attention.

"Wow this is awkward..." he mumbles.

"What?" I blink back into the present.

"Well...I'm just staring at you and you aren't saying anything," he spits, angry at my inability to answer the questions he's not asking.

"Oh," I say, downing the rest of my drink, "stop staring at me then."


So to recap, the people I encounter most often in the dating scene have
  1. fake hobbies
  2. fake job/house/car
  3. fake attitude
and they seem to think it's appropriate to lie about those things. I was told that this is so you become attached to them, and then are willing to overlook the blatant lying. But honestly, I would rather date someone who is honest. Wouldn't you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Raw Sunday

A couple weeks back I was talking to Devon about how terrible I am at getting enough fruits and veggies in my diet, a pretty major failing for someone who's been a vegetarian for 20 years. I am a champion of pastas and frozen delights. Go ahead, ask me to microwave something, I can totally handle it.

But something weird happened when I got back from vacation in California: It was hot here. Really hot. Smokin' hot. Hella hot. Too hot to eat hot food.

So I began to think of fruit and vegetables not as a necessity to avoid scurvy, but as a desirable option. Devon suggested that we pick one day a week to eat only unprocessed plants. No bread, no chips, no french fries, no cupcakes, no cheese.

We chose Sunday as our once a week challenge day.

That first day I have to say I was confused about what to eat. I had a banana for breakfast then attempted to proceed with the day. By 10am my stomach was making muffled screams about abuse. I hit the store in desperation and devoured a pineapple half, two more bananas, a bowl full of strawberries, and half a cantaloupe. Luckily, Devon invited me over for dinner that night so I didn't have to continue taxing my brain. We ate fresh corn on the cob and tiny potatoes.

The next day I felt incredibly good, and I knew I could never go back to eating mostly processed foods. I looked through the fridge and tried to think of creative ways to combine my remaining fruit stores with the frozen vegetables we've had since the last ice age. Mostly I just threw things together in bowls and dumped red wine vinegar and olive oil on them. It was good, but not great.

Then I fell back on what I know how to do: I asked the internet for advice.

And that's how I found a bunch of fresh food recipes that have changed the way I think about eating. As a runner, I'm pretty attached to the idea of eating carbs for fuel. That's still true, but now I'm figuring out that white bread isn't the only source of carbohydrates (are you as surprised as I am?). This is as big of a deal for me as when I discovered Greek yogurt, and that's a pretty big freakin' deal. 


Amazement number 1: Last week I went to Fred Meyer and bought enough fruits and veggies to feed a vegan army. Normally the grocery bill is around $70. The price for only healthy food: $30. I just saved $40 by not taking years off my life, kinda a win-win.

Amazement number 2: Thursday I went for a 10 mile run, powered only by watermelon salad (recipe below) and saw no difference in the way I felt or in my average mile time. This runs counter to my belief that cheese pizza is the best fuel for running (just kidding...sorta).

Amazement number 3: If you wrap corn on the cob (still in the husk) in a wet paper towel and microwave it for 3 minutes, it comes out perfectly.

Amazement number 4: I'm not starving. I'm not exhausted. I'm also not bloated. That's more than one amazement, but the general idea is that I feel really good.

Amazement number 5: Eating now feels like an accomplishment instead of a chore. I'm enjoying my food a lot more since I made it myself. Yesterday I even went up to Green Bluff and picked cherries to use for my Cherry Chik'n.

I'm planning to continue limiting Sunday to just raw foods, and introducing healthier options into all the other days of the week. Below are a few of the recipes we have tested and loved.

Tomato Watermelon Salad - Toss all ingredients in a large bowl
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, also cut
  • 3 1/2 cups watermelon
  • 7 oz feta cheese (remove feta if desired)

Corn Avocado Salad - Toss all ingredients in a large bowl
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 4 pepperoncinis
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tofuky Italian "Sausage"
  • 2 cups tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed red peppers

Cherry Chik'n
  • Quorn Chik'n Tenders (vegi chicken substitute)  
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups fresh cherries
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette

Cook Chik'n tenders in a medium sauce pan with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to season.

Cut and pit cherries in a mixing bowl, crush them to make a sauce. Add balsamic vinaigrette and mix. Heat if desired, use to top Chik'n.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Last month when I started working at Switch Up Web, I began to teach myself Wordpress.

Wordpress is a popular blogging platform and Content Management System (CMS). At first I was reluctant, my background is in hand coding and I couldn't see how a heavily template-based platform could ever look fully custom. I had heard good things but I mostly dismissed them as the ravings of people who are afraid of code. Now that I am a (lightly) seasoned Wordpress person, I can confirm that those good things I heard are true.

In addition to being easy to use from a programming standpoint, Wordpress is also easy to hand off to a client. The 'Dashboard' allows you to set how much access you want to give to certain users. Have a client who shouldn't go near the back-end? Just reduce their user permissions. If someone needs a content change on a page, they don't need to call you at 3 o'clock in the morning, they can do it themselves. It requires a computer skill level about the same as using Microsoft Word.

I am officially a convert.

If you are interested in getting started with Wordpress, you can download it here:

To help you along, here's a list of my current favorite plugins:

WooCommerce - An excellent shopping cart that allows integration with PayPal and many other popular payment methods.

ContactForm7 - Simple and straightforward contact form that inserts into a post or page via a shortcode.

RegenerateThumbnails - Automatically resizes images in your Media Library when you make an update to image sizes.

EventsManager - Organizes upcoming events and allows people to register for them and buy tickets.

MeteorSlides - An easy to manage slideshow that allows for linking to a specific page or post.

Get-a-Post - Allows you to use shortcodes in theme files to pull in a specific post.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Today was the most amazing day I've had since yesterday! Let me tell you why:
It's officially the end of the quarter, no more classes until the Fall for me. Normally, this would make me sad because I always miss the novelty and curious spirit of the classroom environment.

Yesterday was a great day because I got to see final portfolio presentations from a group of students who have been taking my classes for over a year. To see the progression in technical skills and in confidence was just amazing. Truly the most rewarding thing about teaching is seeing the change you bring in the lives of others (it would be nice if the pay was rewarding too, but that's a story for another time).

About a month back when I knew that I wouldn't be able to teach over the Summer, I started to think about other ways that I could keep from getting incredibly bored; a common problem when you consume this much caffeine. And a thought occurred to me...'Why not let others teach me instead of me teaching them?'

Yoga was my gateway drug. I began attending a class through my gym and loved the way it made me feel. When my Sister offered me Zumba I thought, "Why the heck not? I'm already doing yoga."

My first Zumba class ever ever in the whole history of time was this morning. Zumba is an aerobics/dance class and is awesomely fun. The class we went to was a drop in class at The Warehouse next to Gonzaga and I would totally recommend it to any ladies who want a new fitness challenge. I would also recommend it to guys, but I didn't see any in the class, so it might be awkward. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a workout it truly was. And, as my sister Jen pointed out, it's not the kind of aerobics class where you keep wondering how much longer you have to keep doing something. The pace is great and the moves are interesting.

After Zumba I briefly rested then set off to Minnehaha for a top roping class. I've been rock climbing indoors off and on for a few years now but have never been climbing outside. Part of the reason for that is that I didn't know how to safely set up ropes. After today, thanks to Rick at Mountain Gear, I feel completely confident. Climbing outside today was a great experience and I can't wait to get back out again and again all Summer.

Next weekend I have signed up for a motorcycle course through Spokane MotorSchool. I'm excited to say that by this time next weekend I will officially be a licensed rider.

It's such a trip to be on the other side of the classroom again, letting other people teach me new things. All Summer I will be looking for other classes to attend. I'd love to hear recommendations (either here or on Facebook) that anyone has for classes I should take or events I could check out to learn new things.

Monday, May 21, 2012

musical chairs

For two years I have bumped the arms of my office desk chair into the keyboard tray. Every time I hear the "thunk" I curse under my breath and check to see if I scratched the desk. Invariably, I do.

So I began to sit at the taller living room desk, with the chair that has no arms, is too small, and doesn't roll. And every day I lament that I can't rest my elbows, or scoot closer without clinging to the chair sides and jumping forward like a kid bouncing on a hopper ball.

Today is just like any other day, except that today I rubbed two of my brain cells together and solved my problem.

Did you know that chairs can move from one room to another?!? Neither did I!

Clearly I am a genius.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summer Resolutions

January is the completely wrong time to be making promises to ourselves. We plan and resolve, then promptly crawl back under a mountain of fuzzy blankets and sleep for a few more months. I know I'm guilty of that. Back at the beginning of the year I came up with a bunch of goals for 2012, like I always do for the new year, but this year I'm doing something a little different: half-year goals. Instead of making vague promises and forgetting about them until next January, I'm going to make some goals for the warm months when I can actually act on them.

This summer I'd like to do the following:
  • Skydive
  • Learn to ride a motorcycle
  • Take a trip to California
  • Have an awesome Star Wars party
  • Get rid of stuff at a yard sale
  • Swim at least one mile without stopping
That's it. Short and sweet.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Judgy McJudgerson?

"Only flat sheets?" the chipper checkout girl at Wal-Mart cocked her head at me as she scanned my items.

I rummaged through my purse for my debit card, eyes down, concentrating, mumbling, "Uh...yeah...they're for flags."

My eyes darted up to meet hers and she crinkled her nose in confusion.

"Flags...?" Her eyes got rounder. Had she never heard of flags?

I tried again, "Like party decorations?" I asked, hoping she would just hand me the receipt and I wouldn't have to give details to someone who wouldn't understand anyway. I don't want to be at Wal-Mart all night after all.

"Oh, a party!" she exclaimed, a slow understanding breaking through her expression, "have fun then."

My sigh of relief was audible as I snatched up the plastic bags, crinkling them in my fists and bolting for the car.

You see, it's hard for me to explain sometimes. Yep. It's hard to explain to the checkout girl at Wal-Mart that I need flat sheets to make flags for the Rebel Alliance.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell people that I named my car Geordi La Forge. I can't always find the right time to tell someone I'm dating that I've seen every episode of Star Gate. When people talk about Warcraft I have trouble not chiming in about my Blood Elf. I don't need much provoking to start quoting The Princess Bride. If you hang around long enough, I will show you my comic books. God help me if you start to talk about code. I just can't contain it.

A few weeks ago a coworker started explaining Skyrim to me as though I might pick up a controller and try to use it as a boomerang, or possibly a fancy light-up paperweight. It was all I could do to not explain to him in extreme detail how to complete the Diplomatic Immunity quest. It's not that hard dude, seriously.

But I keep those things to myself. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.

There's a certain stigma that surrounds the "geek" persona. As the following description notes (ripped straight from Wikipedia):
  • (Novelist) Julie Smith defined a geek as "a bright young man turned inward, poorly socialized, who felt so little kinship with his own planet that he routinely traveled to the ones invented by his favorite authors, who thought of that secret, dreamy place his computer took him to as cyberspace—somewhere exciting, a place more real than his own life, a land he could conquer, not a drab teenager's room in his parents' house."
 The geek is lazy, anti-social, over caffeinated, awkward and...male.

That's just not me (apart from the caffeine). But it seems to completely throw people for a loop when any of that stuff comes out. Suddenly they forget that I'm an accomplished, athletic, outgoing, and somewhat cocky person (yeah, sometimes I'm a jerk). Out of seemingly nowhere it becomes assumed that I don't have a grip on reality, that I lack for friends, or that I'm pretending to be someone I'm not.

I'm not busting on anyone in particular, rather I'm just wondering: why can't we have a little fun and still be perceived as competent adults? Is it really that strange that I'm capable of paying the mortgage while wearing furry bat wings? Why is it so hard to believe that I can spend 12 hours a day on the internet and also manage to shower on a regular basis?

Back in February I asked on Facebook if people make assumptions about you based on your appearance. And if so, what assumptions do they make?

The reason I asked that question is that I've been struck lately by how differently I'm treated depending on how I'm dressed. When I'm in my normal street clothes, for skating or wandering around, police cars slow down and follow me like I stole something. When I'm slightly better dressed, men yell at me from their cars like I'm a hooker. When I put on slacks I'm respected. When I wear a dress I'm pretty. When I glam up for a night out dancing I'm treated like a vapid, empty headed moron. And none of this has anything to do with who I really am.

There's no real point I'm trying to make here. Just that the older I get the more I see the way we subtract from people. Oversimplifying. Distilling them down so they are easier to categorize. I want to practice seeing the world around me as more and more, instead of less and less. I would like the people in my life to be as complex as they really are, without dumbing it down or being a caricature of only one piece of their personality.

Don't just be the sporty one, or the smart one, or the one who likes cats, or the funny one, or the quiet one. Be exactly who you are, and be all of it.